Category Taking Science to the Moon

What Do We Do after Apollo?

Even before we made detailed plans for including science on the Apollo mis­sions, we undertook planning and analysis for missions that would come later. When I joined NASA in 1963, this planning was being done in Tom Evans’s office under the name Apollo Logistics Support System (ALSS), implying a program that would come after the Apollo missions but would capitalize on the Apollo hardware then being designed. Post-Apollo programs were given other names in later years as management attempted to get a commitment to con­tinue lunar missions after the initial Apollo landings.

By late 1963, except for the effort that went into the Sonett Report, little had been done to fill the void in Apollo science planning. And many in NASA claimed that no void existed. The Apollo program had only one objective: to land men on the Moon and return them safely. The astronauts would probably take a few pictures, though no camera had yet been selected. They might pick up a few rocks, but tools for doing this were not under development, nor were we designing the special boxes essential for storing such samples on the return trip. A few forward-looking scientists were beginning to think about these con­cerns, but no one was receiving NASA funds to develop the equipment needed. Post-Apollo planning was an entirely different matter. Tom Evans’s office was already spending NASA funds to address what we should do on the Moon after the initial landings. His group and others in Advanced Manned Missions who were looking ahead had initiated studies at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) that led to the ten-volume MSFC report Lunar Logistic System. This effort was directed at MSFC by Joseph de Fries of the Aero Astrodynamics Laboratory, but it included contributions from other MSFC organizations.

In the fall of 1963, less than six years before the first Apollo Moon landing would take place, no timelines had yet been developed to tell us how long the astronauts would, or could, stay on the lunar surface. Payload numbers for the science equipment were not firmed up and varied from the 100 to 200 pounds estimated for the Sonett Report to the ‘‘back of the envelope’’ 250 pounds allotted later. We all assumed it would be difficult to get a larger allocation until all the Apollo systems had been tested and flown and had their performance evaluated. In spite of the many uncertainties and the lack of firm numbers, we took it as given that the landings (number undefined) would be successful and that the myriad Apollo systems would function as advertised.

Our job was not to question any of the Apollo assumptions. Another office in Advanced Manned Missions, under the rubric of supporting research and technology, was responsible for developing alternative ways to ensure mission success. Not only did we assume success, we were charged with expanding the capabilities of the basic Apollo hardware far beyond the original intent. For example, how could we upgrade the lunar excursion module (LEM) to carry a much larger payload than currently planned? How could we extend the time that the command and service module (CSM) could stay in lunar orbit? How could we increase the potential landing area accessible to the LEM (restricted for the first landings to the Moon’s nearside, central longitude, equatorial re­gion) so that we could explore what appeared to be critical geological sites far from the planned Apollo landing zone? And would it be possible to land a modified, automated LEM, turning it into a cargo carrier (LEM truck) in order to bring large scientific and logistics payloads to the Moon? All these questions and many more were already under study when I joined the office. (Later in the program the term lunar excursion module was shortened to lunar module, LM, but at this time LEM was still the preferred name.)

The missing ingredient in all this planning was an explanation for why we wanted to stay longer on the lunar surface and why we needed to modify the Apollo hardware to carry bigger payloads. How long should we stay? How big a payload? It became my job to get answers from the ongoing studies. At the end of July 1963, as one of his last actions at headquarters, Gene Shoemaker had sent a letter to Wernher von Braun, the Marshall Space Flight Center director, asking MSFC to suggest what types of scientific activities should be undertaken on the ALSS missions. Verne Fryklund, as Shoemaker’s successor at NASA, continued this effort, and I in turn inherited this inquiry when I informally joined his staff.

After meeting Paul Lowman in Fryklund’s office, I quickly learned that he shared my enthusiasm about studying and exploring the Moon. Not having been exposed to normal Washington turf battles and jealousies, it seemed quite natural that I ask Paul to work with me informally on some of the projects I had begun. Paul had already made a name for himself by convincing the Mercury astronauts to use Hasselblad cameras on their flights to photograph the Earth’s surface. This was no mean accomplishment, since these former test pilots were much more interested in flying and monitoring spacecraft systems than in being photographers. Most of the astronauts eventually enjoyed taking photos, especially when they were published extensively in newspapers and magazines. At that time Life had an exclusive agreement with the astronauts to publish first-person accounts of the missions, and a few beautiful full-color photos of the Earth appeared in the articles that followed each Mercury flight. As a result of this success, Paul continued to coach the upcoming Gemini astronauts in photography.

One of the attractive aspects of working at NASA in those early days was that staff members were given great freedom to attack whatever problem they un­covered, without bureaucratic red tape and worry about turf. Paul had orig­inally accepted his temporary headquarters assignment in order to work with Gene Shoemaker, so with Gene’s departure, the reorganization of Fryklund’s office, and the arrival of Will Foster, the timing was right. Thus we began a long professional friendship that endures today.

By the time I joined Evans’s small team in 1963, we already had the results of some preliminary studies on expanding the versatility of the Apollo hardware. The MSFC Lunar Logistic System study had examined the hardware then under development for Apollo and documented its inherent flexibility. With what we claimed would be minor modifications, it would be possible to land the LEM at selected sites with no crew on board. Such a LEM could then be a cargo ship carrying as much as seven thousand pounds to the lunar surface, replacing ascent fuel and other equipment not needed for a one-way, unmanned trip. A LEM with this capacity could carry living quarters, large science payloads, or other types of equipment depending on the mission. It seemed that a crew of two astronauts, arriving in another modified LEM and landing close to one or more unmanned logistics LEMs, could spend as much as two weeks on the Moon by either transferring to the earlier-landed LEM or using other payloads that had preceded them.

Similar studies of the CSM showed that it could be kept in lunar orbit long enough to support a two-week lunar stay. In addition, remote-sensing payloads could be carried in one of the CSM’s bays to map the lunar surface in various parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, an undertaking that was receiving more and more backing and attention.

Most of my office colleagues were engineers with degrees in electrical, aero­nautical, or mechanical engineering and little training in earth sciences. This background was mirrored by NASA’s senior management. We decided the best way to convince our bosses that there would be exciting and important inves­tigations for the astronauts to undertake on the Moon (requiring many days and a wide variety of equipment) would be to illustrate these tasks with ter­restrial analogies and describe the type of fieldwork and experiments required on Earth to unravel its own history.

Drawing on the Sonett Report and our own knowledge and experience, Paul and I first visited the rock collection at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. We borrowed rock samples of various types that illustrated the Earth’s geological diversity and the complex geological and geophysical situations we believed would be encountered on the Moon. With visible evidence of how a planetary body (the Earth) had evolved, we developed a rudimentary ‘‘show and tell’’—a short course in terrestrial geology and geophysics for NASA deci­sion makers—and extrapolated this lesson to the Moon. We hoped our rock collection, along with maps, photos, cross sections, and such, would stimulate their interest and demonstrate that what we were proposing was real and im­portant. We selected igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rock samples, later augmented by a few specimens collected at Meteor Crater, Arizona, that showed how a meteorite impact could make rocks look much different than before they were struck. In 1963 so little was known of the physical characteris­tics of the lunar surface that we felt free to use almost any type of rock to tell our story. Armed with our teaching materials, we put together a half-hour lecture designed around passing out our rock collection to the audience to make particular points and—we hoped—elicit questions. We started with my office colleagues, honed the presentation, and later lectured to senior staff. Tom Evans and E. Z. Gray were impressed with the story we put together. We were ready to take our show on the road and present it along with recent study results con­firming that the astronauts might be able to stay on the Moon for two weeks deploying sophisticated science payloads.

On December 23, 1963, after just four months of getting our story together, Evans was asked to brief a prestigious audience: Nicholas E. Golovin, a member of the President’s Science Advisory Committee (PSAC), and staff from the Office of Science and Technology (OST). Golovin had been a senior manager at NASA before going to PSAC. He had earned a reputation as a stern, no­nonsense leader in NASA’s early days when he chaired a committee to review the Apollo launch vehicle options and became involved in the internal debate on selecting lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) as the preferred mission mode. Tom was apprehensive about the briefing, which was designed to inform PSAC about our thinking on post-Apollo missions. Ed Andrews and I went with Tom, but because of Golovin’s reputation we were told just to listen unless Tom asked us to answer a question.

I thought the briefing went well, and I only responded to a few “geological” questions directed my way. Golovin asked several questions, some in a peremp­tory tone that I assumed was his normal manner. Donald Steininger, from OST, asked a few questions on classifying rocks, obviously trying to understand how much sampling would be necessary to understand the Moon’s history. Tom saw the meeting more negatively. He didn’t think we had convinced our audience of the need for extended lunar exploration. As it turned out, Tom’s instincts were right: after President Kennedy’s death, the Johnson administration never fully embraced post-Apollo lunar exploration.

Of course, not knowing in 1963 and 1964 what events would take place that might dash our plans, we charged ahead and prepared for the big show, a briefing on our vision of post-Apollo lunar exploration for George Mueller, Tom and E. Z. Gray’s boss. Mueller, a former professor of electrical engineering, was a slender man with dark hair combed straight back, whose thick, black- rimmed glasses gave him an owlish look. In the meetings I had attended he was soft-spoken and deliberative. I was looking forward to this chance to brief him. Mueller’s management style was somewhat unusual compared with that of other managers I had known, and in the years ahead it set the tone for the Apollo program.

After we moved to 600 Independence Avenue (across the street from a parking lot that later was the site of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum), briefings and status reviews for Mueller were held in Office of Manned Space Flight (OMSF) conference room 425. The room was set up to hold forty to fifty, with Mueller and senior OMSF management seated in the front row before three back-projected screens. A lectern for the presenter was usually placed to the audience’s left of the screens. Several overhead microphones let the pre­senter prompt the projectionist for the next vugraph or slide. Al Zito, a civil servant transferred from the navy, ruled the seas behind the screens. You soon learned that if you wanted a smooth presentation, Al had to understand your needs. With an assistant, he would work the three screens like an orchestra conductor, never missing a beat even if the presenter lost his place or questions disrupted the flow. Al became an OMSF institution. He could have written a funny book about NASA in the years leading up to the first Apollo flights, for he was privy to more senior-level decision making than almost anyone else. Such a book could have included the faults, foibles, and stumbles of many senior managers unprepared for the grilling they got on the stage in room 425.

We had a small art department to develop presentation material for OMSF offices. Housed in the basement of 600 Independence Avenue, it was run by Peter Robinson, who had a full-time staff of six or seven artists and technicians. Pete was a true NASA treasure-unflappable in the face of impossible deadlines yet smiling and friendly and somehow always delivering the goods. I came to know Pete and his team well over the years. I often spent hours in Pete’s office along with Jay Holmes, who worked on Mueller’s staff to develop presentations, sketching and revising new material for briefing senior management. Mueller had a special ability to make a flawless presentation with minimum preparation before audiences of all descriptions, keeping them spellbound with the colorful and exciting pictures we and others provided. Every program manager soon learned to keep a file drawer full of up-to-date vugraphs of his project, ready at a moment’s notice to either give a presentation or provide material for someone else to present.

Although the conference room had microphones to cue the projectionist, there was no way to amplify what was being said for those in back. During and after presentations, Mueller and his staff would ask questions and discuss the matter at hand, with Mueller taking the lead. His voice was soft and low, and since he seldom raised it, even during contentious debates, everyone would be absolutely silent so as not to miss what was being said in the front of the room. In spite of straining to hear, those of us in the cheap seats often could not get the gist of the discussion.

After the meeting we would discreetly mill around in the corridor outside asking ‘‘What did he say?’’ about a particular subject of interest. We usually had to ask two or three people before we got the whole answer, since even those seated closer might not have heard everything. I have often wondered if Mueller knew about these sessions and purposely pitched his voice low to keep everyone focused and eliminate unwanted questions on his time. Whether or not it was a ploy, his meetings usually zipped along, unlike those run by many other man­agers I have worked with.

The staff had two strategies for briefing Mueller. During the regular work­week we tried to schedule our briefings early in the morning, because as the day wore on, even if you were on his schedule, he would often be called away for urgent telephone calls or for short or long discussions back in his office. His calendar was always filled, so if you didn’t finish your briefing in the time allotted it was difficult to get back on his agenda. We quickly learned to schedule important decision-making meetings on Saturday or Sunday, when interrup­tions were at a minimum and we could talk in a more relaxed environment. NASA Manned Space Flight under Mueller became a seven-day-a-week job, and the lights burned late in most offices at headquarters as we tried to keep up with the rapidly evolving program. The same was true, I know, at the NASA centers.

Our briefing for Mueller was carried out in an atmosphere less formal than usual and with fewer attendees. We made our case for longer staytimes and larger payloads, and since I was at the front for my presentation, this time I had no trouble hearing his questions. Our briefing and props succeeded beyond our expectations; eventually E. Z. Gray felt comfortable enough with our story that he borrowed our presentation for his own briefings, and Mueller soon began to lobby for post-Apollo missions. Over the next two years, as more and more in­formation on the Moon’s characteristics became available through new studies and the unmanned missions, we improved our story and eventually made our presentation, without the rocks, at national scientific meetings and symposia.

In the spring of 1964, as we continued to spread the gospel of lunar explora­tion, Tom Evans scheduled a trip to Houston to discuss our ideas and plans for post-Apollo exploration with some of the staff at the newly formed Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC; later named the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center). Many of the new arrivals at MSC had been transferred from the NASA Langley Research Center, and one of the more senior was Maxime ‘‘Max’’ A. Faget. Max was a feisty aeronautical engineer who had been a member of the NASA Space Task Group, the source of many of the initial Project Mercury program man­agers and other senior managers for the fledgling NASA. In 1959 he served on the Goett Committee that recommended increasingly difficult missions, from Project Mercury to Mars-Venus landings, including manned lunar landings. With this background we thought he would be interested in and supportive of our plans. Max’s title was director of engineering and development, and as one of the designers of the Mercury capsule he now led the MSC engineering teams responsible for the design of everything from the LEM to space suits.

Tom took three of us with him to Houston to be available for questions from Max and whoever else he might invite to the briefing. At this time the MSC staff was still small. Some members, including Max, were housed in a building near downtown Houston while their permanent offices were being built in a cow pasture at Clear Lake, about twenty miles southeast of Houston. Max brought about six staff members to our briefing, which Tom Evans gave in its entirety. He described in detail the type of tasks we thought would be needed after the initial Apollo landings to answer fundamental questions about the Moon’s origin and explained the value of using the Moon as a lunar science base. To carry them out, Tom explained, would require making changes to the projected Apollo hardware so that astronauts could remain on the Moon for weeks at a time and so that large logistical payloads could be carried. As the briefing progressed, there were no questions from Max or any of his staff. Finally, after about an hour of talking, Tom completed the briefing and asked for comments or questions. After a short pause, Max, a short, stocky man with a receding hairline and a bulldog demeanor, turned in his swivel chair and asked in a raspy voice, of no one in particular, ‘‘Who thought up these ideas, some high-school student?’’

Despite his look of great consternation, Tom calmly tried to explain how we had arrived at our position, but it was clear that Max wasn’t interested. Perhaps he had more pressing matters on his mind, such as the first Gemini program launch, which would soon be announced. Perhaps he knew that these ideas were based in part on work done at MSFC, a rival for management of pieces of the Apollo program. The briefing ended in some disarray because of Max’s attitude. We quickly left and flew back to Washington, dismayed at our inability to get a more positive response. This was my first encounter with Max Faget and some of the MSC science staff, and it signaled the beginning of a long and often contentious relationship with some MSC offices that lasted until the final Apollo flight splashed down.

No story about NASA would be complete without some discussion of bud­gets. There have been several accounts, perhaps apocryphal, of how NASA administrator James Webb and his staff arrived at a dollar figure for how much the Apollo program would cost American taxpayers. The most common story had it that his managers told him it would take $12 billion or $13 billion to achieve a manned lunar landing and return, so he made an appointment to discuss the program and budget that he was recommending with President Kennedy. On the way to the White House in his Checkers limousine, a modified version of the popular taxicab (he was the only agency head to use such inele­gant transportation, which he found spacious and easy to get in and out of), based on his experience as director of the Bureau of the Budget and his exper­tise in dealing with big government programs, he doubled the estimate to $25 billion. Whether or not the genesis of this number is true, his projection was on the mark, and the Apollo program eventually was completed for almost pre­cisely that amount.

Webb and his deputy, Hugh Dryden, were the only political appointees at NASA. Webb had been appointed by President Kennedy at the beginning of his term to succeed NASA’s first administrator, T. Keith Glennan. Webb was a lawyer who came to NASA from the private sector, but he had been a senior government official in previous administrations and still maintained close ties to important political figures. During his tenure at NASA he was admired for his political astuteness and his ability to move Congress and administrations in the directions he chose. As the Mr. Outside of NASA, he smoothed the way for the agency to grow and prosper during the hectic first years of the Apollo era.

I don’t recall any meetings with Webb or Dryden—I was much too junior for such exalted company—but I did attend many meetings over the years with Bob Seamans, the associate administrator and number three man in the manage­ment pecking order. His background was very different from Webb’s. He had spent most of his career at MIT, first as a professor and later working on a variety of military projects at what was then called the Instrumentation Labora­tory. In his autobiography, Aiming at Targets,1 Seamans recounts being re­cruited by Glennan in 1960 to be NASA’s ‘‘general manager,’’ running the day – to-day operations. After Webb succeeded Glennan, Seamans continued to fill the general manager’s position and became NASA’s Mr. Inside. It was in that role that I first met him soon after I joined NASA. I’m sure he wouldn’t remem­ber that meeting, and I don’t recall the subject (although it probably had something to do with lunar exploration), but I remember one exchange vividly. During the presentations, I asked a few questions. Seamans turned abruptly in my direction and said in a pained voice, ‘‘This is my meeting.’’ I may not remember what was covered at the meeting, but those words are etched in my memory. His outburst quickly put a lowly GS-13 in his place, and from that point on I only listened.

Under Seamans’s direction NASA quickly became a polished management team. He instituted comprehensive monthly status reviews (general manage­ment status reviews) where he presided. Every aspect of all the programs was reviewed, problems were thrashed out, and actions were assigned. It was almost impossible to hide a problem in such a forum, and the business of the agency moved ahead briskly. Eventually Seamans was appointed deputy administrator, and he stayed at NASA until January 1968, the eve of Apollo’s biggest successes, for which he could take major credit. In 1974 President Gerald Ford appointed Seamans to lead a new government entity, the Energy Research and Develop­ment Agency, and I had the pleasure of working for him again, only this time in a much more senior role.

Only a small fraction of the $25 billion Webb asked for found its way into the Advanced Manned Missions budget or its predecessor offices. It has been diffi­cult, thirty-five years after the fact, to reconstruct these budgets from existing NASA documentation and from my own files. But it appears that from fiscal year 1961 to FY 1968 our offices received about $100 million out of the overall Manned Space Flight budget. These dollars funded a variety of studies: manned lunar and planetary missions, vehicle studies, Earth orbital missions, systems engineering, and other special studies, all related to programs that might follow a successful Apollo landing. In turn, Evans was allocated his small portion of these overall budgets for his office’s studies. By FY 1964 he had received a little over $7 million, which he had divided among five competing study areas, and increased funding came our way over the next few years. In the first two and a half years that I worked for Tom and his successors (calendar year 1963 to CY 1965), we had access to about $8 million to start obtaining some hard numbers that would back up the ‘‘how long, how big’’ assumptions for the ALSS missions that we grandly threw around in our briefings and rock lectures. In addition to contractor studies, this funding included a few hundred thousand dollars that was transferred to the United States Geographical Survey (USGS) in FY 1964 and FY 1965, to begin geological and geophysical field studies of how to carry out specific operations during lunar missions with long staytimes. In the early 1960s, you could get a lot of bang for your NASA buck.

My first contractor study was undertaken toward the end of 1963 by Martin Marietta. The company had been in competition with Grumman to build the lunar excursion module, and in the final selection Grumman won. During the competition, Martin had built a full-scale mock-up of its concept of what a LEM would look like. Not surprisingly, since they were both bidding to the same specifications, the Martin concept looked very similar to the winning Grumman model. This mock-up now sat in a high-bay building at the Martin plant in Middle River, Maryland, near Baltimore. Disappointed by the loss, and learning of our activities, a Martin manager came to my office one day to see if there was any interest in using this equipment. Having just completed a param­etric analysis of contingency experiments for Apollo, I saw the opportunity to determine, in a preliminary fashion, what difficulties the astronauts might have in making observations from the LEM once they landed on the lunar surface and before they set foot outside. In the back of our minds was the fear that after a successful touchdown something might keep them from getting out on the lunar surface.

Because Martin had the only look-alike version of a LEM, I was able to justify a sole-source contract, and one was soon in place. As part of the contract, Martin did its best, within our funding limitations, to simulate a lunar surface surrounding the LEM mock-up on the floor of the high-bay building. Tons of ashes, sand, and other material were poured on the floor, and we also scattered various types of rocks in the loose, finer-grained material, including some of those we had borrowed from the Smithsonian. To simulate lighting conditions the astronauts might encounter on the Moon, we illuminated the simulated surface with light ranging from low to intense and varied the angle to duplicate the changing sun angles they might confront depending on when during a lunar day they landed.

Since this was to be a simulation of human factors as much as geological conditions, the contract was managed by the Martin human factors department under the direction of Milton Grodsky. The “astronauts” were Martin em­ployees selected by the company. Paul Lowman and I gave them some rudimen­tary geological training, concentrating on how to make visual observations, provide verbal descriptions using geological terms, and take photographs from the LEM windows to show the nature of the simulated lunar surface. The

Martin test subjects volunteered to spend three or four days isolated in the LEM mock-up, eating and sleeping in the confined space and able to communicate with the test engineers only by radio. The living conditions inside the Martin mock-up, though somewhat uncomfortable, were considerably better than those faced by Neil A. Armstrong and Edwin E. ‘‘Buzz’’ Aldrin Jr. five years later during the first lunar landing and by astronauts in later missions. Armstrong and Aldrin, for example, didn’t get much rest during their twenty-hour stay. When they tried to sleep after returning to the LEM from extravehicular ac­tivity (EVA) on the surface, Armstrong had to rest on top of the motor casing of the ascent stage rocket, while Aldrin curled up in a confined space on the LEM’s floor. Neither slept soundly, and Armstrong perhaps not at all. We were easier on our test subjects; we gutted the interior of the mock-up, and each test ‘‘astronaut’’ had enough space to sleep on a thin mattress on the floor.

The first problem was how to photograph and describe the scene outside the LEM, which had only two small windows, both facing in about the same direction. With this limited view, less than half the lunar surface would be visible if the astronauts could not get out. The LEM also had an overhead hatch to allow them to enter it from the CSM while in lunar orbit, and in that hatch was a small window designed to permit star field sightings, if needed, to up­date the LEM’s guidance and navigation system. But on the lunar surface this window would face only the dark sky above the Moon. The LEM would be equipped with a small telescope that could be operated from inside to assist in the star sightings. We simulated opening the hatch on the lunar surface, with one of the test subjects standing in the opening to make observations. That worked quite well, and we were confident that if this was allowed we could get a good description of the landing site supplemented by panoramic photographs. But what if the astronauts couldn’t open the hatch or weren’t permitted to do so?

Perhaps we could adapt the telescope—design it to operate more like a periscope so they could scan the surface in all directions. Paul and I traveled to Boston to ask these questions at MIT’s Instrumentation Laboratory. The lab had the NASA contract to design the guidance and navigation control system for the CSM and LEM. The telescope was an integral part of the system, along with a sextant in the CSM. We spent the afternoon describing our Martin study and explaining the added value of designing the telescope so it could not only take star sightings but scan the surface and accept a handheld camera to let the astronauts photograph the full surface area of the landing site from within the LEM. The engineers thought this would be possible, but it would entail a major design change to the telescope. Since they were already having some trouble meeting contract objectives, we knew that asking for such a change, based on a perhaps unlikely contingency, went beyond our pay grade. I wrote a short report of our visit and then drafted a memo to George Mueller, for Homer Newell’s signature, requesting that modifications to the LEM periscope be con­sidered to permit terrain photography and visual observations of the lunar surface.2 I have no record of how this request was processed in OMSF, but the modifications were considered too extensive and costly, and the matter was dropped. We resurrected this idea some time later, but again it was not imple­mented, and fortunately such an instrument was never needed on any of the Apollo landing missions.

With the Martin Marietta contract under way, I started to lay plans for several other studies. The Sonett Report made it clear that we would need a geophysical station of undetermined design that could support five or six ex­periments. A drill that could extract core samples from deep below the lunar surface was another piece of equipment we believed the scientific community would eventually call for. After studying the first USGS geologic maps of the Kepler and Copernicus regions, traverses of tens of miles seemed necessary if we were to fully understand such large craters, some twenty and fifty miles in diameter. To work far beyond their immediate landing site, the astronauts would have to be mobile, and the more capable we could make a vehicle the more useful it would be. According to our limited understanding of the ongo­ing designs for the astronauts’ space suits and life-support backpacks, they would never be permitted to make such long traverses on foot; they would need a vehicle with a pressurized cab and full life support.

Our growing knowledge of the Moon suggested that the lunar surface might be stable, not subject to shaking and movement. If that was true, it would be easy to design astronomical devices to take advantage of this characteristic, perhaps by using small, symmetrical craters to support radio antennas or large mirrors. With no intervening atmosphere, telescopes operating on the lunar surface during the fourteen-day lunar nights might provide the best ‘‘seeing,’’ or ‘‘listening,’’ that astronomers could hope to find nearby in our solar system. We proposed to study such instruments for inclusion in the science payloads of these longer missions following the Apollo landings.

Compared with Apollo, where we were told there would be constraints on all the important exploration parameters such as payload weight, surface staytime, and site accessibility, we could think big. The biggest constraint to be removed was the limit on the payload we could send to the Moon’s surface. Instead of numbers like 250 pounds, we could plan around payloads of 7,000 pounds or more, which in turn could be used for any need we had. Experiments, life support, and transportation headed the list of items we would try to define so as to take advantage of the larger payloads.

As it was with Apollo, the astronauts’ safety was always uppermost in our thoughts as we laid these plans. Other self-imposed criteria required automat­ing as many jobs as possible to conserve the astronauts’ time. Lunar surface tasks would be designed to optimize their inherent ability to accomplish those aspects of exploration that humans do best: observing, describing, manipulat­ing complex equipment, and responding to the unexpected. We did not want them performing a lot of manual labor if it could be avoided. But we had to strike a delicate balance between automated functions and manual tasks, or supporters of unmanned exploration, both inside and outside NASA, would raise many questions and objections. Why go to the expense, not to mention risk, of sending astronauts if all they did was turn a switch and let a machine do the work? Switches could be turned on and off from Earth. Our office never thought this was a real challenge, since the astronauts’ unique abilities would always be their most important contribution toward exploring the Moon. A combination of automated equipment and hands-on tasks would be needed, and we took it for granted that exploration would proceed in this fashion.

Designing a drill for studying subsurface conditions (called logging) on the Moon and for taking subsurface core samples was a good example of how we eventually applied these criteria. On Earth these operations are labor intensive, requiring many types of laborers and technicians to carry out the wide variety of jobs each entails. Being familiar with all these tasks after spending many months at well sites in Colombia, I could see that new thinking would be required. Terrestrial drilling, logging, and coring equipment must be bulky and heavy to accommodate difficult drilling conditions and the constant rough handling encountered in the field.

Drilling on Earth has one other important characteristic that would be different on the Moon. Water or water-mud mixtures are normally pumped into a drill hole to cool the bit, bring the rock cuttings to the surface, and keep the hole from caving in. Where a water mixture cannot be used, air is circulated under high pressure to accomplish the same purposes. Either of these methods would be impractical on the Moon; we would have to find other ways. Since the primary purpose of drilling on the Moon would be to extract a core, we didn’t want astronauts to have to constantly oversee the drilling and coring. This added another dimension to whatever designs would be proposed: a highly reliable, semiautomated lunar core drill. We envisioned much more elegant equipment than that employed on Earth—probably to be used only once at each landing site and thus far different from traditional terrestrial designs.

With all these considerations to be dealt with, the next priority after we started the Martin study was to find a contractor who would do an overall analysis of science needs for the ALSS missions. This new study would generate first-order estimates of weights, volumes, and data transmission and power requirements for a suite of instruments selected by the government. This was my first attempt at writing a government request for quotation (RFQ), and I got help from my office and the NASA headquarters Procurement Office. The RFQ, called “Scientific Mission Support Study for ALSS,’’ focused on the scientific operations that could be done from a mobile laboratory carrying two astro­nauts. It was released in early 1964 from our headquarters office.

While I was writing this RFQ it became clear that managing contracts from headquarters would be difficult since we had so many studies to get under way. We needed to find a NASA center that would agree to manage them. Also, we reasoned that having a center take ownership of the studies had another advan­tage. The center would be a strong voice supporting our ideas at other NASA offices that might be skeptical of their importance when budget time rolled around and we were competing for scarce funds.

My few brief encounters with the MSC staff had not been encouraging. They were focused on Gemini and just beginning to think about Apollo science. As shown by our briefing to Faget, planning what should be done after Apollo was not on their agenda. In addition, in early 1964 I could not identify anyone I thought had the right background to manage the studies. Goddard Space Flight Center had built a strong earth sciences staff that could have taken on these studies, but they reported to the Office of Space Science and Applications, the wrong part of NASA. The Kennedy Space Center, although an OMSF center, did not seem to be an option, since its primary responsibility was to service a variety of launch vehicles and there were few earth scientists on the staff. That left the Marshall Space Flight Center, the remaining OMSF center, as my only choice. It turned out to be a most fortuitous final candidate. The studies initi­ated by our office and others in Advanced Manned Missions to improve the Apollo hardware had been undertaken by several MSFC organizations. Many MSFC staffers had worked on studies reported in the multivolume Lunar Logis­tic System.

Wernher von Braun, a German expatriate rocket genius, was the newly appointed MSFC director. He had just been reassigned from his position as director of the Development Operations Division of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency at the army’s Redstone Arsenal, located with MSFC in Huntsville, Ala­bama. At the end of World War II the army had brought more than 120 Ger­man engineers and scientists, led by von Braun, to the United States to improve the country’s rocket know-how. Some of this original group had been assigned to Cape Canaveral as well as Huntsville. With a perfect launch record for their rocket designs, they successfully launched the first United States satellite, and our rocket technology was progressing rapidly. Sending men to the Moon was to be their next challenge, which would include building the huge new Saturn V! MSFC was NASA’s largest center in terms of manpower, so the question became where to go in this organization, with which I had had no previous contact. The decision turned out to be easy, since the Research Projects Laboratory (RPL), under Ernst Stuhlinger, one of von Braun’s original team members, had been responsible for writing volume 10, Payloads, of the Lunar Logistic System re­port.3 This volume described science payloads that could be carried on modi­fied Apollo spacecraft, including many geophysical experiments.

After several phone calls I scheduled a meeting with James Downey, manager of the Special Projects Office in RPL; he and some of his staff had also contrib­uted to volume 10. Our first meeting took place in late 1963 and was marked by some careful bureaucratic dancing. Reflecting his center’s and his immediate boss’s cautious, Germanic approach to having someone from headquarters ask for a commitment of manpower and center resources, Jim wanted to know if my request represented a formal headquarters assignment of new duties for MSFC. I wasn’t prepared for such a pointed inquiry and knew I didn’t have the authority to say yes, so I hedged but assured him that our office had funds to support the studies I was asking him to manage.

Jim, a University of Alabama graduate, was an easygoing manager who commanded the respect of his unusual, multitalented conglomeration of scien­tists and engineers. He was eager to take on this new job, for so far his office had not received much funding for its studies. An important measure of a successful manager at NASA was how much funding he obtained and how many contracts he managed, so the promise of new funding was well received. But before he could agree it would have to be formally requested through the proper chan­nels. From my brief exposure to his staff, it appeared that they had the mix of skills needed to monitor the wide range of contractor studies we wanted to perform. I told Jim I would go back to Washington and start the paperwork. This meeting was the beginning of a long and productive relationship with Ernst Stuhlinger, Jim Downey, and their staffs as we undertook several studies that broke new ground for lunar exploration.

What did it mean when a NASA center managed programs or studies? There were many responsibilities. We met frequently to plan future procurements to be sure we all agreed on what the final products would be, and we would estimate the funds required and the schedules to be met by the contractors. Then MSFC would write the request for proposal (RFP), designate a contract monitor on Downey’s staff, establish a rather informal source selection com­mittee to evaluate the proposals, advertise the procurement in the Commerce Business Daily, release the RFP, evaluate the proposals received (with the evalua­tion documented in case of a protest from a rejected contractor), choose a win­ner or winners, award the contract, and then—the important part—monitor the contractor’s performance until the job was completed. The procedures we followed for these smaller contracts, although spelled out in NASA regulations, were nowhere near as precise as today’s requirements, which call for formally appointed source evaluation boards and source selection officials. Without this time-consuming bureaucratic red tape, we were able to move ahead quickly on our contracts.

In my mind the steps named above more than justified asking a center to help get the contracts under way; the centers had much more manpower avail­able for this cradle-to-grave job, as well as experience in directing the efforts of NASA’s growing number of contractors. The main responsibility of NASA headquarters staff was to develop the big-picture programs and run inter­ference with the administration and Congress on issues pertaining to budgets and policy, leaving the details of running the programs to the centers. In real­ity these distinctions weren’t so clear-cut, and the centers and headquarters worked together on all aspects of the programs. Contract management of advanced (paper) studies migrated more and more from headquarters to the centers. As NASA matured as an agency, the centers became powerful indepen­dent entities, supported by their homegrown political allies in Congress and the executive branch. This growing independence was one of the reasons friction developed between headquarters and MSC. Under von Braun, MSFC accepted headquarters direction more graciously; perhaps this smoother relationship was a reflection of MSFC’s confident corporate personality, embodied in the person of its director and enhanced by its established reputation in rocketry. MSC was the new kid on the block, attempting to prove that it knew how to get the job done but with a short track record. And it had no one with a reputation like von Braun’s to intervene if problems arose. Little by little, of course, MSC established this track record with the successful completion of the Mercury and Gemini programs, but this newfound confidence never translated to a smooth management relationship with our headquarters office in matters dealing with science.

Once MSFC agreed to manage our post-Apollo science studies, events moved rapidly. Contracts were signed in 1964 for the studies mentioned above, and soon afterward management of the ALSS Scientific Mission Support Study, won by the Bendix Aerospace Systems Division, was transferred to MSFC. Not all headquarters managers followed this practice; some liked to maintain con­trol of their programs by doing the day-to-day management. But the advan­tages of leaving contract management to MSFC were evident from the start. Small study contracts could be managed by headquarters staff, since they re­sulted only in paper, but once prototype hardware became deliverable, only a center could supply the management expertise and resources needed. Several of our contracts required delivery of engineering models or “breadboards” of proposed equipment as well as detailed analyses.

In June 1964, along with some reorganization at headquarters, the ALSS program was modified and given a new name, Apollo Extension System (AES). The new name was meant to convey a different message than Apollo Logistics Support System; AES was to be a new program based more closely on Apollo but not requiring the extensive hardware modifications envisioned for ALSS. There would still be a greater potential to study the Moon, both on the surface and from lunar orbit. We could still plan on dual launches of an automated LEM shelter-laboratory and a LEM taxi to carry the astronauts to the surface and return them to rendezvous with a CSM built for extended staytime. Our

strategy, as we had planned for ALSS, centered on the astronauts’ transferring to a shelter-laboratory after landing and conducting their extravehicular activities from there. AES studies also included using a wide variety of instruments aboard the Apollo CSM in Earth and lunar orbit to survey and map the surfaces of these two bodies. The orbital studies would now be managed in the Ad­vanced Manned Missions office as a continuation of the work initiated earlier by Pete Badgley.

In early 1964, President Johnson asked NASA to develop long-range goals for the agency and, by implication, the nation. Homer Newell, as was the custom, quickly asked the National Academy of Sciences to help provide a response focusing on space science. In 1961 the Academy’s Space Science Board (SSB) had recommended that “scientific exploration of the Moon and planets should be clearly stated as the ultimate objective of the U. S. space program for the foreseeable future.’’ Now, three years later, Harry Hess, chairman of the Space Science Board, wrote to Newell indicating that a change in objectives was appropriate. Planetary exploration, starting with unmanned exploration of Mars and eventually leading to manned exploration, should be the new goal.4 The SSB stated that Mars “offers the best possibility in our solar system for shedding light on extraterrestrial life.’’ It was ready to concede that the Apollo program would be successful, thus the new emphasis on planetary exploration. But the SSB also suggested some alternatives that included extensive manned lunar exploration leading to lunar bases. These recommendations, which we took as an endorsement of the studies we were pursuing, were eventually incor­porated into the report that was sent to the president. In the fall of 1964 we believed our programs would soon be officially embraced by the administra­tion, and this belief was reinforced a few months later when the president publicly declared that ‘‘we intend to not only land on the moon but to also explore the moon.’’5 We waited in vain for a formal start. Instead Johnson focused on his Great Society programs and, increasingly, on the war in Viet­nam. There were three more years of growing budgets for Manned Space Flight to fulfill the lunar landing mandate, but NASA’s overall funding peaked in FY 1965 and thereafter began to decline.

At the end of 1964 Ed Andrews and I were transferred from Tom Evans’s office to a new office called Special Studies under the direction of William Taylor. I was not pleased with this move; the mission of this new office was poorly defined, and it removed me from the day-to-day oversight of the pro­grams I had initiated. I maintained contact using my other hat, however, work­ing for Will Foster. Evans was promoted to lieutenant colonel that summer, and soon he left NASA and the army to return to Iowa and manage his family’s large farm. With his departure, the Advanced Manned Missions Lunar and Planetary Offices were combined under Frank Dixon, who until then had been director of the Manned Planetary Missions Office.

In June 1965 I was transferred back to Manned Lunar Missions Studies, once again a separate office, under a new director, Philip Culbertson, brought in from General Dynamics to replace Evans. I mention these office moves only to illustrate the uncertainty that was present at NASA as top management tried to position the agency for life after Apollo. Although Manned Space Flight’s bud­gets were still growing, management could foresee that if new missions were not assigned soon, the agency would be largely marking time until the end of Apollo. The mantra in OMSF was that only large, manned-mission programs could sustain NASA. Other programs, such as unmanned space science and aeronautics research, though important, would never maintain a prominent agency in the federal government’s hierarchy, which consists of large cabinet – level departments and also smaller independent agencies like NASA. In Wash­ington, big, growing government programs were good for those managing them, and declining budgets were bad for ambitious managers.

At the same time as we were attempting to define the science content of the ALSS-AES missions, the Boeing Company’s lunar base study, with the title Lunar Exploration Systems for Apollo (LESA), was under way. When William Henderson joined our office at the end of 1963 he became the headquarters lunar base expert and assumed oversight of all the lunar base studies. Boeing’s final LESA report described a modular lunar base that would be assembled from Apollo hardware, incorporating greater modifications than required for ALSS-AES missions. By grouping modules, a base could support colonies of two to eighteen men. (We had no women astronauts at that time, so the studies were always described in masculine terms.) Individual modules might take as much as 25,000 pounds of useful payload to the lunar surface. Depending on the mix of equipment and the number of modules, these colonies could operate for ninety days to two years. We envisioned sending to the Moon large pieces of scientific equipment that would permit a wide range of activities. Long – duration geological and geophysical traverses in large wheeled vehicles could be conducted, as well as studies confined to the base, such as deep drilling and astronomical observations. These endeavors, we believed, would lay the groundwork to justify permanent bases.

During this period we persuaded our management to let us take several trips overseas to gain greater insight into some of the situations we expected to encounter during lunar exploration. In January 1964 Bill Henderson took the first of such trips, receiving permission to visit our scientific bases in Antarctica. He made the case that these stations were the closest examples we could find to what a base on the Moon would be like: isolated, difficult to supply, and therefore self-sufficient. Their primary reason for existence was to conduct scientific investigations; the secondary objective was to show the flag—or per­haps vice versa. Both these reasons closely followed what we believed would be the ultimate rationale for establishing lunar bases, and one couldn’t deny that Antarctic conditions were moonlike. Bill thought his time in Antarctica was well spent and, since he was the only person at headquarters with this ex­perience, his recommendations carried more weight when he advanced his thoughts on how to design a lunar base.

At the end of the rather massive Boeing study, Bill initiated a new round of more detailed lunar base analyses. The resulting contract, signed by the Lock­heed Missile and Space Company in February 1966 for $897,000, was the largest award ever made by our office. The study, called Mission Modes and Systems Analysis, would be supported by three other contractor studies valued at an additional $900,000. One of these studies, Scientific Mission Support Study for Extended Lunar Exploration, was won by North American Aviation, with Jack Green, of the ‘‘volcanic Moon,’’ playing a prominent role in the study. The contract would be monitored by Paul Lowman and Herman Gierow, Jim Downey’s deputy and a versatile manager who had participated in the earlier LESA studies.

For decades space dreamers and enthusiasts, including MSFC’s director, von Braun, had written and lectured on the possibility of establishing a lunar base. Now major government funds were to be spent on a serious look at what it would take to carry it off. The inherent ability of the Apollo hardware to place large payloads into Earth orbit and send them on to the Moon was the initial requirement for lunar base planners. After modifications, with each flight the Apollo upper stages would be capable of placing large payloads on the lunar surface. Big payloads meant you could envision supporting and supplying a large lunar colony over long periods at a reasonable cost. This was the challenge, first to Boeing, then to Lockheed and its support contractors: Tell us how it could be done, what such a base would look like, and how a base could support scientific and engineering operations that would justify its existence. The results of all these studies were encouraging, especially assuming that the nation would continue to commit large amounts of money to the investment it was making in Apollo—not an unreasonable expectation in the mid-1960s. Extended lunar exploration, followed by the establishment of one or more lunar bases, would not be cheap. But the initial analyses seemed to show that, for an additional investment approaching what would be spent on Apollo, all this could be done.

Bob Seamans, George Mueller, and E. Z. Gray began to lobby Congress for a NASA mandate that would implement these grand designs. When they testi­fied before NASA congressional oversight committees, they would impress the members with realistic artists’ renditions of what these stations and bases could look like. They also had funding estimates (supplied from our contractor stud­ies) to support their contention that continued lunar operations were feasible at a reasonable price and would produce important results. At a lower level in the management chain, staff like me, Paul Lowman, Bill Henderson, and others involved in the studies at MSFC took every opportunity to advertise our plans at professional conferences and public forums. We could usually count on good coverage from the media, and it seemed at the time that we were winning public support. Public polls always gave NASA high marks, and the major news and trade magazines were eager to write stories and show drawings of future lunar colonies.

Contractors who won our awards usually included well-known scientists on their teams as consultants (a few with Nobel credentials); they were to review study results during the contract and make recommendations to the contrac­tors to ensure that the results were grounded in scientific reality. During pro­posal evaluations, the quality of these consultants could determine which con­tractor would receive the award. While the contract was under way, or at its conclusion, we were not bashful about dropping their names if our assump­tions were challenged.

Returning to the ALSS-AES studies, in May 1964 MSFC put together the RFP for what we called the Emplaced Scientific Station (ESS). This study would provide a preliminary design of a self-sufficient geophysical station to be de­ployed by the astronauts on the lunar surface, incorporating several experi­ments listed in the Sonett Report and some from other sources. We received eight responses to the RFP and selected two contractors, Bendix Corporation, led by Lyle Tiffany, and Westinghouse, led by Jack Wild. These two contracts, along with the Scientific Mission Support Study, would provide us with enough detail that one year later we could extrapolate the results to design the Apollo geophysical station, which would have to meet more stringent requirements.

As we did for the ESS, we awarded two contracts in 1965 to study competing designs for a hundred-foot drill. One went to Westinghouse Electric Corpora­tion and a second to Northrup Space Laboratories. Each contract had a value of more than $500,000. The MSFC contract manager was John Bensko, a geologist who had worked in the oil and coal mining industries before joining NASA. After coming to MSFC, he helped develop engineering models of the lunar surface, useful background for his drill contracts. John put together an advisory team from the Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Mines to provide addi­tional engineering expertise as the contractors began to cope with their difficult assignments. In those days NASA always attempted to at least match the con­tractors’ expertise in house so that our oversight and evaluation of their perfor­mance were well grounded. I believe this respect for each other’s abilities let NASA and its contractors work together better as a team, although some con­tractors grumbled at the tight monitoring. Today NASA’s approach to contract monitoring seems to have changed almost 180 degrees; in-house expertise in the aspects of a contract is often minimal. For the drill studies, NASA’s compe­tence was especially important, since we planned a series of difficult tests in­cluding drilling in a vacuum chamber at MSFC, never before attempted with a drill of this size.

Considering the unusual location for a drill rig and other constraints, the Westinghouse approach to drilling on the Moon was relatively straightforward, modeled after terrestrial wire-line drilling. Short sections of drill pipe were added from a rotating dispenser as drilling progressed; the core would be extracted from a short core stem after each section was taken from the drill hole. Since this would be close to a conventional design, it would entail almost constant monitoring by the astronauts. The Northrup design was radically different. It proposed using a flexible drill string, wound on a drum, that would be slowly fed into the hole to the final target depth of one hundred feet. A core stem would be attached to the end of a flexible pipe, and the core would be recovered much as in the Westinghouse design but without adding drill pipe sections every five to ten feet. Several innovative concepts were aimed at reduc­ing the astronauts’ involvement, and though we recognized that they posed some design risks, we accepted them as the price for a possible breakthrough in technology.

One of the major challenges for both concepts was cooling the bit during drilling to reduce wear. Bensko hired Arthur D. Little to do a separate analysis of how to accomplish the cooling. The company’s study showed that the cool­ing problem could be greatly mitigated in the vacuum environment of the Moon if the rock cuttings could be rapidly moved away from the bit face so that the they would carry off some of the heat. Spiral flutes were thus incorporated on the outside of the drill string, like an auger, to lift the cuttings up through the hole to the surface.

Although the spiral flutes partially solved how to cool the bit, as our studies progressed we found that after a short time the bit would still get too hot, become dull, and stop cutting. Both contractors settled on using diamond-core bits to ensure that they could drill through any rock type encountered. Westing – house had included Longyear on its team, and Northrup had teamed with Christianson Diamond Bits, the leading industrial suppliers of diamond-core bits. Both bit contractors concluded that, with the technology then available, even a diamond-core bit would need to be replaced many times in drilling a hundred-foot hole. This was unacceptable.

Initially, the best the Westinghouse team could do under test conditions was to drill fourteen inches through basalt, a possible lunar rock type, before an uncooled bit failed. But they reexamined the problem and finally hit on a solution. The diamond-core bits then offered to industry used a matrix that ‘‘glued’’ tiny diamonds to the bit in a random alignment. The random align­ment did not allow each diamond to present its best cutting edge to the rock being cored, however. They demonstrated that carefully setting the diamonds in the matrix significantly prolonged the life of the bit. Hand setting each diamond would add greatly to the bit’s cost, but it would be well worth it for a lunar mission where the astronauts’ time was more precious than a diamond bit. These newly designed bits lasted more than ten feet before they dulled. After other design changes, eventually we expected to drill the entire one hundred feet with just one bit, eliminating a time-consuming chore. As I recall, Chris­tianson developed a relatively inexpensive technique to manufacture bits of this design for their terrestrial customers. Although they cost more than normal diamond-core bits, they were worth the investment because fewer were needed.

The cost of drilling on Earth is strongly influenced not only by the price of bits but by the time needed to extract a dulled bit from the drill hole, change bits, and resume drilling.

As the studies continued, progress on the Northrup design slowed, and the contract was terminated before they delivered a complete working model. Our gamble had failed. A Westinghouse model was tested at MSFC, including vac­uum chamber tests. Finally tests were held in the desert in Arizona and New Mexico to simulate drilling under lunar conditions (but not in a vacuum), with no lubrication for the bit. Bensko recalls that we chose a bad time for our tests: there had been more rainfall than normal, and the wet soil gummed up the flutes. In other tests the fluted drill pipe performed about as expected, and we were encouraged to believe that a full-scale drill could extract cores on the Moon to depths of one hundred feet.

In anticipation of drilling a deep hole on the Moon, in 1965 we started two studies with Texaco and Schlumberger to design logging devices that would determine conditions beneath the lunar surface. (Taking measurements in ter­restrial drill holes is standard practice for obtaining information on subsurface conditions.) These contracts, also worth more than $500,000 each, were man­aged by MSFC’s Orlo Hudson.

In both terrestrial drilling and drill-hole logging, the drill hole is almost always filled with a fluid, of varying chemistry, the remnants of the drilling mud. Lacking this liquid to couple the logging tools to the subsurface rock formations, the contractors were forced to modify standard oil field technology. The Texaco team, which had extensive experience in developing logging devices for oil field exploration, had won an award from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to provide logging devices for the Ranger and Surveyor projects. In their planning stages both projects included small drills as potential science pay­loads. Schlumberger, the acknowledged leader in developing logging devices for the oil and mineral exploration industry, showed an interest in such unworldly studies (to our surprise), entered a bid, and won the other contract. Both contractors overcame the lunar logging constraints and designed a suite of devices that could make measurements in a hole drilled on the Moon. Perhaps one day, when the opportunity arises to drill deep holes on the Moon or some other extraterrestrial body, these studies will be found and reread.

The most interesting set of studies we conducted were those related to providing mobility once the astronauts reached the lunar surface. Many con­cepts were being proposed, some more fanciful than others. MSFC had re­ported the results of the first in-house mobility studies in volume 9 of the Lunar Logistic System series.6 Two of the main contributors to these studies were Jean Olivier and David Cramblit, who wrote several reports on lunar surface mobility. To learn what types of mobility systems would work best on the Moon, based on the limited knowledge available, MSFC and the Kennedy Space Center developed a lunar surface model to study how wheeled vehicles might perform on soils in a lunar vacuum and what type of obstacles they would have to traverse.7

JPL had also developed a lunar surface model in order to design a small unmanned vehicle for the Surveyor project.8 It had tested several designs on simulated lunar terrain in the early 1960s. My first trip to JPL was to witness a test of a small vehicle operated by an engineer with a handheld remote-control box, hardwired to the rover. It was much like a modern toy car except for the connecting wire. Today’s electronics permit cheap radio-controlled toys; in the early 1960s radio control was a luxury we usually did without when testing our concepts. This was an interesting demonstration of a small articulated vehicle with springy wheels driving over loose sandy material and small rocks. From time to time there were short interruptions caused by failures in the then state – of-the-art electrical circuits, powered by vacuum tubes. One could say that the granddaughter of this vehicle was the small rover named Sojourner that tra­versed the Martian surface in July 1997. A United States automated rover never made it to the Moon, but a Soviet rover named Lunokhod operated on the Moon in 1970.

Although in 1964 and 1965 we still did not have any data from direct contact with the lunar surface, information from radar and laboratory studies pre­dicted how the Moon’s surface layer would respond to a wheeled vehicle. In spite of Tommy Gold’s theories, we were certain that a vehicle could move around without serious difficulties. But we were not sure how the Moon’s almost total vacuum would affect the lunar soil; the high vacuum that would be encountered on the Moon was impossible to achieve on Earth. Studies had been conducted in high vacuum using several types of simulated lunar soil, but their fidelity was open to question because our ideas about the composition of lunar soil (grain size, mineralogy, and other characteristics) were mostly guesses.

Our first contractor studies of a lunar surface vehicle were undertaken by the Bendix Corporation and the Boeing Aerospace Division. They were selected in

May 1964 to study ALSS exploration payloads, including a vehicle we had dubbed MOLAB (for mobile laboratory). The Boeing study was managed by Grady Mitchum, and the Bendix manager was Charles Weatherred. Because of their involvement in the post-Apollo studies, both these men and their com­panies would be important contributors to later Apollo contracts. Bendix had earlier won one of the JPL design contracts for a small Surveyor rover, so it was well prepared to undertake the study. From taking part in our lunar base studies, Boeing had a good background that included designing mobility concepts.

The concept for using a MOLAB was to have it delivered to the Moon by an ALSS automated LEM. It would then be deployed and operated remotely so that it could travel to another LEM carrying two astronauts that would land a short distance away. It was to be a vehicle of about seven thousand pounds, including the scientific equipment it would carry. It would support two astro­nauts for up to two weeks in a pressurized cab, permitting shirt-sleeve working conditions while under way. Based on our study of early geologic maps of the Moon, we felt that such a vehicle should have a traverse range of several hun­dred miles so the astronauts could make several trips far enough from their landing site to sample geologically interesting areas. These requirements were a tall order for any vehicle, not to mention one that must function on the lunar surface.

The two contractors were also asked to design a shelter that could be deliv­ered by the same type of automated LEM and a smaller, unpressurized vehicle we named the local scientific survey module (LSSM). (Moon vehicles had to have strange names; they couldn’t just be called cars or trucks, since they would be so different from any of their terrestrial cousins.) All these studies were to be accomplished by both contractors for a total of slightly more than $1.5 million.

As the studies progressed, under the direction of Joe de Fries and Lynn Bradford at MSFC, the MSFC Manufacturing Engineering Lab built a full-scale mock-up to evaluate such things as cabin size and crew station layout. Many photographs of this rather unusual looking vehicle were circulated to the media and other interested groups, showing our progress toward the next step in lunar exploration. A December 1964 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology featured a front cover picture showing the mock-up sitting on top of a LEM truck and included a special report on the Bendix version.9 The MOLAB, more than any other project we worked on for post-Apollo missions, seemed to catch the imagination of futurists, perhaps reflecting the national love affair with the automobile. Perhaps people could visualize themselves speeding across the lunar surface, dodging boulders and craters.

At the conclusion of the initial contracts in July 1965, both contractors were given extensions totaling more than $1 million to refine their LSSM designs. Bendix and General Motors received two other contracts to produce four-wheel and six-wheel LSSM test designs, each worth almost $400,000. By the end of 1965 we had awarded lunar vehicle contracts for more than $3.5 million and had probably spent almost as much for in-house civil service workers and contractor support.

While all this wheeled-vehicle planning was under way, Textron Bell Aero­space Company was quietly developing a small manned lunar flying vehicle (LFV). A one-man version was demonstrated in a live test early in 1964. (A later generation of this device was demonstrated at large gatherings including the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, and a version was flown in the James Bond movie Thunderball.) Bell had conducted a preliminary study of how to com­bine the MOLAB and the LFV, sponsored by NASA’s Office of Advanced Re­search and Technology. In these early days we had a good working relationship with OART; under the direction of James Gangler, it was attempting to look far ahead at technology needs for lunar exploration and lunar bases. After the impressive one-man flight demonstration, MSFC awarded Textron Bell a follow-on contract in August 1964 to further define the concept. In these stud­ies the LFV was given two functions—to return the astronauts to a base camp in case of a MOLAB breakdown and to help them reach difficult sites.

The MSFC contract with Textron Bell called for an LFV design that would carry two astronauts a minimum of fifty miles for the safety fly-back mission. This would also be a useful range to take the astronauts to sites they could not reach overland. MSFC later awarded Bell a second contract with a more modest goal—to support AES missions requiring an operations radius of only fifteen miles. This vehicle, which needed far less fuel because of its shorter range, could carry one astronaut and three hundred pounds of equipment or transport two astronauts the same distance. Both design studies and a working prototype indicated that an LFV with these characteristics was feasible.

A study was also done to assess the advantages of using the lunar surface for astronomical observations, an application supported by some, but not all, in the astronomical fraternity. In 1965 MSFC awarded Kollsman Instrument Cor­poration a one-year contract for $144,000 to assess the feasibility of carrying a large optical telescope observatory to the Moon mounted on a modified auto­mated LEM lander. MSFC’s contract monitor was Ernest Wells, an amateur astronomer whose avocation served him well in this job. Kollsman was already developing the Goddard Experimental Package (GEP), an automated observa­tory scheduled to be launched in 1966 on the Orbiting Astronomical Observa­tory (OAO), so working with the company would save effort and money.

The GEP consisted of a thirty-six-inch reflector telescope, its mounting, a camera, and associated electronics. Improvements to the GEP design to take advantage of its lunar location could be recommended during this study, as well as design changes to accommodate the astronauts’ involvement in its operation, since the OAO design was a fully automated observatory. The results were encouraging, indicating that the astronomical payload could operate on the Moon for long periods in both an unmanned and a manned mode.10 Kollsman also reported that new technology, by greatly reducing the overall weight, might permit a much larger instrument, perhaps up to 120 inches in diameter, to be carried on the same LEM truck.

A fallout of these studies at MSFC was the establishment of a Scientific Payloads Division in Stuhlinger’s Space Sciences Laboratory. Jim Downey be­came the director of this new division, and Herman Gierow was named deputy. Later, as the MSFC work on post-Apollo science wound down, both Jim and Herman went on to manage important new programs that included work on the Apollo telescope mount flown on Skylab. Their work on space-based astronomy culminated in the launch of three high energy astronomical obser­vatories in the 1970s and studies of a large space telescope that evolved a few years later into the successful Hubbell space telescope program.

The transition from planning ALSS missions to planning AES missions was relatively painless. AES payloads would be smaller than those we anticipated for ALSS missions but much larger than Apollo’s allocation. By this time we had a much better understanding of the Apollo hardware than when we started our ALSS studies, and we were also becoming aware of the potential Apollo opera­tional margins that could permit larger payloads or increase flexibility. We hoped these margins would soon be available as confidence in Apollo’s perfor­mance grew.

Removing the ascent propulsion and other unnecessary systems required during a normal LEM ascent and rendezvous would free up space for approxi­mately 6,000 pounds of payload, 1,000 pounds less than the total used for the

ALSS studies. Of the 6,000 pounds, 3,500 would be required for consumables and other additions so two men could stay in the LEM for two weeks. The remaining 2,500 pounds could then be used for scientific equipment. This represented a rather firm increase of an order of magnitude over the expected allocation for Apollo science payloads. Although 2,500 pounds was less than half the weight we had been using in planning, it was enough to be exciting.

Based on 2,500 pounds and results coming in from our ALSS-AES studies and USGS work at Flagstaff, we divided a typical payload as follows: 1,000 pounds for a fully charged LSSM with a range of 125 miles, 200 pounds for a hundred-foot core drill, 90 pounds for logging devices, 350-400 pounds for an ESS, 80 pounds for a small preliminary sample analysis lab, 100 pounds for geological field mapping equipment, 150 pounds for geophysical field survey equipment, 30 pounds for sample return containers, and up to 500 pounds for a power supply for the drill or other exploration equipment. We felt this equip­ment would let the astronauts take full advantage of a two-week stay and study their landing site in some detail. For safety reasons, during manned operations the LSSM would be restricted to a radius of five miles, but it could operate in both manned and automated modes. After the astronauts left it could carry out investigations farther from the landing site, to the limit of its battery charge, under command from Earth.

Our planning for lunar exploration after the initial Apollo landings was now in high gear. The next step was to test our ideas as realistically as possible so we could not be accused of offering proposals thought up by ‘‘some high – school student.’’

The United States Geological Survey. Joins Our Team

At the same time we were conducting our studies at Marshall Space Flight Center, we began to build a strong partnership with the United States Geologi­cal Survey under the direction of Eugene M. Shoemaker at Flagstaff, Arizona. Gene, an outstanding scientist, colleague, and friend, had a major impact on the program. I will be discussing his contributions in future chapters. To a Rocky Moon, by Don E. Wilhelms, provides many details of Shoemaker’s re­markable career; I also recommend this book if you want to read more on Apollo lunar science.1

After leaving Washington in the fall of 1963, Shoemaker returned to Flag­staff, where he had recently moved with his wife, Carolyn, and three small children. He had chosen Flagstaff for his new office location for several reasons. It had a small-town atmosphere, and there were many Moon-like geological features only about an hour’s drive or less to the east. Another plus, although Gene might have denied it, was that Flagstaff was far enough away that he would be left pretty much on his own, undistracted by his superiors in Wash­ington. But the local geology was the real magnet. Meteor Crater, whose origin Gene had helped unravel, was about to become a star in the geological firma­ment, a place all the astronauts would visit and study. He may have thought the Branch of Astrogeology would go quietly about its business, but its notoriety was to grow as its close relationship to the astronauts became known.

Although Gene was in Washington for about two months after my arrival, our paths had not crossed. It soon became clear that he was someone I had to meet. As our contract studies progressed and I learned about his work, it seemed there might be a good match between his interests and my office’s future needs. His staff was already heavily involved in NASA work, including some projects that could contribute directly to our studies. We talked several times on the phone about the direction post-Apollo planning was heading and agreed to meet and see if we could find areas of shared interest.

My first trip to Flagstaff was in March 1964. In those days the best way to get there from Washington was to catch a late afternoon United Airlines flight to Denver and connect with Frontier Airlines for a milk run to Flagstaff. Frontier had recently started operations as a feeder airline connecting many small west­ern towns with larger cities such as Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Denver. At this time it mostly used the Convair 240, a two-engine propeller plane. As a pas­senger carrier, it offered basic transportation, noisy and drafty. The crew con­sisted of pilot, copilot, and one overworked stewardess attending to the needs of thirty or forty passengers, a few usually sick from the bumpy ride. Since there were frequent stops at cities such as Colorado Springs and Farmington, New Mexico, the plane never reached high altitudes; it flew just high enough to clear any mountain peaks. So you bounced along, buffeted by the thermals that swirled over the mountains below or the clouds above.

On summer trips you dodged thunderheads and lightning all along the flight path and imagined how rough the landscape below would be in a forced landing. By the time you left Denver in the winter it was dark, so all you could see out the small windows were a few lights from the scattered towns below. At some of the small airfields the nearby peaks, unseen in the darkness, towered above the landing approach path. Flagstaff’s airport, cut out of a stand of ponderosa pines, was just a few miles south of town and near one of those towering peaks, Mount Humphrey (12,670 feet). As I walked down the stairs at Flagstaff on that first trip, I inhaled the aroma of the ponderosas, unlike any forest smell I had ever experienced. It was a crystal-clear, cold night with no sky glow from the nearby city. At seven thousand feet, the stars were the brightest I could remember since my days at sea. It was easy to understand why Percival Lowell had established his famous observatory near Flagstaff.

Flagstaff had grown up as a two-industry railroad town, serving lumber and cattle. The main street stretched for several miles along old Route 66 (also U. S. 40), paralleling the railroad tracks. Now it was mostly a tourist town, a stop along the road to the Grand Canyon, about eighty miles to the northwest. The Grand Canyon, like Meteor Crater, would become an astronaut training site. Flagstaff boasted a small college, with a few thousand students at that time, and several motels, small restaurants, and tourist shops, most with a western or Native American motif. East of town were Sunset Crater and other volcanic features, and continuing east you could drive through portions of the Hopi and Navajo Indian reservations and the Painted Desert.

The next morning Donald Elston (Gene’s deputy—his real title was assistant branch chief) picked me up at my motel and drove me to their temporary offices on the grounds of the Museum of Northern Arizona. Gene met me there, dressed in blue jeans, a western shirt, field boots, and bolo tie—the standard uniform for his staff, although a few were not so nattily turned out. My typical Washington uniform of suit, white shirt, tie, and dress shoes drew some wise­cracks, dictating a change of wardrobe for my next visits. Gene’s offices, in several one-story cinder-block buildings, were not imposing. Furniture was rudimentary and looked like army surplus. Some of the more innovative staffers had built bookcases out of packing boxes, and recently Gordon Swann reminded me that when he first arrived in Flagstaff the only extra chair in his small, shared office was a short plank he laid across his wastebasket. In spite of appearances, you could feel the energy and dedication of the staff Gene was putting together; they hadn’t come to Flagstaff for fancy accommodations.

Gene introduced me to those present—mostly young, some of them recent college graduates—and gave me a short tour. Gene had been selected as a coinvestigator for Ranger and the upcoming Surveyor program. Some staffers were busy analyzing the first Ranger close-up pictures, returned only four months earlier, and preparing for the first Surveyor landing. In addition to the Ranger and Surveyor work, his office had the lead in making the lunar pho­togeologic maps that would be influential within a few years in the selection of potential Apollo and post-Apollo landing sites. Most of this latter work, sup­ported by Bob Bryson at NASA headquarters, was being done at the branch’s offices in Menlo Park, California, using the nearby Lick Observatory telescope. Several Flagstaffers commuted to California to work on their assigned quad­rangles; Gene had tried to get as many of his staff as possible involved in the mapping, for training and simply because mapping all the nearside of the Moon was such a big job. Bryson was already upset that the maps were behind schedule. In mid-1964 their commute was shortened to a few miles when NASA, under a program funded by William Brunk of the Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA), built a thirty-two-inch reflector telescope on Anderson Mesa, just south of Flagstaff, dedicated to providing geologic maps of the Moon and staffed by personnel from USGS. David Dodgen and Elliot Morris were the guiding hands while the observatory was under construction, and it later became Elliot’s small kingdom, supporting many staffers who spent cold nights at the eyepiece to complete their assigned maps.

Although Bryson had warned me he thought Gene was overloaded with ongoing projects, I intended to offer to support some work at Flagstaff if they could take on additional projects. Our meetings went well, and we agreed to work together on post-Apollo mission planning. The topography and geology of the surrounding area would be ideal for testing some of our ideas on con­ducting lunar missions with long staytimes, and it was obvious that Gene and his staff passionately wanted to be involved in exploring the Moon. To alleviate Bryson’s worries, Gene assured me he could hire extra staff for this new work. We shook hands on developing an interagency funding transfer, and I went back to Washington to start the paperwork. Our handshake would lead to almost $1 million a year in cooperative work, with my office covering all aspects of post-Apollo lunar exploration. By the time the Apollo missions were under way, Shoemaker’s team would receive almost $2.5 million a year from NASA to cover its many assignments.

With the paperwork in motion to transfer funding to Flagstaff, Gene began to assemble more staff. He did this with new hires as well as a little Shoemaker ‘‘suasion’’ of USGS personnel at other offices around the country. He had a good nucleus already on site, and to the adventurous recruits this was a mission unparalleled in USGS. A few old hands and a number of younger USGS staff as well as some new hires soon signed up; some reported to the office in Menlo Park, California, to augment the ongoing work there, but most came to Flag­staff. By 1965 Gene had major pieces of many NASA pies: Ranger, Surveyor, Lunar Orbiter, lunar geologic mapping, astronaut training, the job of principal investigator for the first Apollo landing missions, and post-Apollo science plan­ning. At the height of our efforts, in 1968, over 190 USGS staff members and university part-timers were working at several locations in Flagstaff, including offices in a new government complex north of town.

The primary ventures my office funded entailed laying the groundwork to justify the longer-duration post-Apollo missions. This effort soon merged with a need to influence how the Apollo missions themselves would be conducted. With funds beginning to come in from other NASA offices, Gene organized his staff into three offices: Unmanned Lunar Exploration under the direction of John ‘‘Jack’’ McCauley, to cover the ongoing work for Ranger, Surveyor, and Lunar Orbiter; Astrogeologic Studies at Menlo Park under Harold ‘‘Hal’’ Masursky; and Manned Lunar Exploration Studies directed by Don Elston, the last funded primarily by my office.

Our first order of business was to determine what equipment and expe­riments could or should be included on the post-Apollo missions. We incor­porated some of the early results from the MSFC contractor studies as well as the ideas Gene and his staff had begun developing for the Apollo flights. Hand in hand with these studies went the need to define how the astronauts could best accomplish the tasks within the constraints of their space suits and the limitations of their life-support systems. What combination of equipment and procedures would make the most sense from the standpoint of scientific exploration?

In mid-1964 a letter was sent to MSC, over Verne Fryklund’s signature, outlining our need for space suits and support technicians to carry out our planned simulations. It requested an inventory of vacuum chambers where we might test the equipment with suited test subjects. We expected that by 1967 we would want to use vacuum chamber tests to demonstrate that, wherever we were in our studies, equipment design, and procedures, the astronauts could carry out the required tasks. Max Faget’s response about vacuum chambers was encouraging.2 Two large, man-rated chambers, A and B (the larger one ninety feet high and fifty-five feet in diameter) were planned for such simulations. He noted that chamber A could sustain tests lasting several weeks, fitting in nicely with our proposed post-Apollo timeline. We thought Max might be having a change of heart about supporting our needs, since the specifications for the chambers came from his office and the only proposal for such long-duration simulations we were aware of came from us. Until this point there had been no exchange of information between the two organizations, so perhaps Max had paid more attention than we thought to Evans’s earlier briefing.

The situation on space suits was not so encouraging. Borrowing space suits and technicians for simulations away from MSC would be difficult because both were in short supply. Through the intervention of USGS’s Gordon Swann, then stationed at MSC, and others working with the astronauts there, we were able to obtain a surplus Gemini space suit that we trained two staffers at Flagstaff to wear for field simulations. It was not a very satisfactory suit to use in the field, because it was not designed for walking when pressurized, and it was difficult for the wearer to bend at the waist to conduct typical fieldwork. Gemini astronauts either sat in the capsule or, for EVAs, stood almost upright at the end of a tether. But it was useful, especially in the sense that it drove home how difficult it would be for the astronauts, even in a better space suit, to do the equivalent of routine geological fieldwork.

In October 1964 Gordon Swann joined Elston’s group, transferring from his work at Houston teaching geology to the astronauts. Gordon brought his in­sight on how to meet the astronauts’ requirements into everything we were doing, based on his day-to-day interactions with them on their training trips. Gordon soon became our primary suited test subject, pouring gallons of sweat into the boots of our borrowed space suits during his many simulations.

As our studies at Flagstaff accelerated, Elston and his staff began to develop several simulation sites nearby. One of these, just east of town, became a conve­nient place to test our ideas. In July 1964 Bill Henderson and I went to Grum­man to have the model shop build a high-fidelity, full-scale replica of the LEM ascent stage as the starting point for our field simulations. The replica was delivered a few months later. We mounted it on a truck bed, and it was carried back and forth to the field when needed.

With additional help from MSC, we soon graduated to a prototype Apollo suit, which made it much easier to conduct realistic fieldwork, since it incorpo­rated a portable life-support system (PLSS) that let us do away with hoses and hand-carried cooling systems. In June 1965 Gordon Swann and Joseph O’Con­nor were given their first indoctrination into the use of Apollo-type space suits at MSC.3 From that point on, whenever we could obtain the loan of such a suit, we would rehearse and simulate at Flagstaff all the tasks we were planning for the astronauts.

Our simulations and field tests led to the design of various tools and equip­ment to ease sample collection and permit the observation and mapping of geological features. Ideas were tried and rejected and equipment was built and discarded as we learned what would work best. For example, during our field simulations, the USGS “astronauts” practiced viewing the surface from the overhead hatch of the LEM mock-up carried on the back of a truck to obtain, more or less, the correct elevation above ground level. Their experience at taking advantage of this high observation point was passed on to the crews and led to David R. Scott’s decision on Apollo 15 to stand in the overhead hatch to plan his surface activities and traverses at the landing site. Dave Dodgen and

Walter Fahey designed and built a LEM periscope like that recommended earlier for the Martin study (with a few more frills), and it was used successfully during some of the simulations to determine how to study a landing site before the astronauts began their EVAs.

At this point in our work Gene had the good fortune and foresight to bring on board a young geologist who had just finished his graduate work at Har – vard—Harrison H. ‘‘Jack’’ Schmitt. Jack, full of enthusiasm and energy, soon became a leader in our simulation efforts, and with his firsthand involvement in planning post-Apollo missions at Flagstaff, he began his journey toward be­coming (so far) the only professional geologist to walk on the Moon.

We were beginning to make real progress. Not only were we closing in on future tool designs that would work well with a space-suited astronaut, but we were also developing ways for teams back on Earth to process the information that would come back from the Moon in the form of verbal descriptions, experimental data, and perhaps television pictures. At this time a television camera for use on the Moon was not a potential payload item for the Apollo missions. But we believed it would be an invaluable tool for the AES missions, so we usually carried one during our field simulations. We would review the tapes when we returned to the office to complete the analysis of the simulation. We took the next step and set up relay towers on Mount Elden, north of Flagstaff, that let us send the pictures back from the field to an office in the Arizona Bank Building in downtown Flagstaff. After we ironed out the kinks of getting voice and pictures back from the field, we started to design a facility we named Command Data Reception and Analysis (CDRA), where a team of geologists could convert field data in real time into a geologic map. Not only would our planned Moon traverses include geological observations and mea­surements, but we envisioned collecting geophysical information along the route such as gravity and magnetic field measurements. We knew that AES missions would return so much information, collected during miles of traverses by astronauts riding on some type of vehicle, that it would be essential to process the information in near real time. If we could do this, we believed we could redirect the crews or suggest additional surveys to flesh out the picture we were developing of their landing site.

As our CDRA work progressed we brought our ideas to the attention of MSC. This revelation of how we thought the post-Apollo missions should be conducted stirred up a hornets’ nest. We were told in no uncertain terms that the idea would never be approved. Scientists on Earth talking directly to astro­nauts on the Moon? Scientists second-guessing the astronauts on what to do or how to do it? No way! We were told to cease work along these lines. We chose to ignore this ‘‘guidance’’ and continued to improve our vision of how this could be done.

The ALSS-AES missions permitted longer surface staytimes, but to complete the mission and return home the CSM would have to stay in orbit as long as the astronauts were on the Moon’s surface. We began serious study of how we could take advantage of having the CSM in orbit for such a long time. With modifica­tions, in some respects easier to project than extending the LEM staytime, the CSM could remain in orbit for two weeks or longer. What should we do with a CSM that might make three hundred or more orbits of the Moon while the astronauts were on the surface? It seemed obvious: map the Moon from orbit with whatever instruments the CSM could accommodate. In the early stages of these studies we looked at fully automating the CSM sensor package and per­haps converting the LEM to carry three people so that one astronaut would not have to remain alone in orbit on board the CSM but could be on the surface to share the workload. All this appeared possible. We then enlisted the aid of USGS to come up with a conceptual, remote-sensing payload for the CSM. This in turn led to investigating how to tailor the astronauts’ surface activities to provide the ‘‘ground truth’’ that would improve the value of the data returned by orbital sensors. The suite of sensors proposed for the CSM included multi­spectral photography as well as spectrochemical, microwave, and radar instru­ments that would let us extrapolate the data collected at the landing sites to broad regions of the Moon.4

By 1965, three years had passed since the last National Academy of Sciences summer study that led to the Sonett Report. In the intervening time we had learned a lot. Careful study of the close-up views of the lunar surface taken by Ranger increased our confidence that ‘‘normal’’ geological and geophysical studies could be planned for the astronauts. The summer of 1965 was selected as the next date for the Academy to review the status of space science, this time at Woods Hole, near Falmouth, Massachusetts. Dick Allenby and I thought this would be a good opportunity to take advantage of the assembled ‘‘Academy experts’’ such as Harry Hess, Aaron Waters, and Hoover Mackin. I hoped to convene a working group similar to Sonett’s to review our progress and make some specific recommendations for Apollo and post-Apollo science operations.

We made a few calls to see if some of the invited Academy members would agree to extend their time at Woods Hole. Most agreed to stay—it didn’t take much persuasion, since it was such a beautiful spot to be working in the middle of summer. I went to Woods Hole to see if a follow-on meeting could be arranged. In contrast to the twenty participants in the Sonett Ad Hoc Working Group, we envisioned a much larger attendance, probably more than fifty scientists and engineers, including at least one astronaut.

The National Academy of Sciences owned a large mansion directly on the bay at Woods Hole that had been converted to host its many summer con­ferences. With porches on all four sides of the house and broad, well-kept lawns, it was a beautiful, almost idyllic, site. The views of the bay from the conference room windows made you wonder how participants could concen­trate on the business that brought them there. This was my first visit to Woods Hole, and after seeing the mansion I realized that although it could accommo­date the small number of scientists usually invited, it would not serve for the much larger meeting we planned.

A few inquiries turned up no suitable building nearby; we needed a small auditorium for general meetings and several rooms where the various scientific disciplines could meet. Driving around Woods Hole and Falmouth, I noticed the Falmouth High School, a perfect location, and on the spur of the moment went in to talk to the principal (I’ve now forgotten his name). After a brief introduction he gave me a quick tour and said he was willing to ask his school board for permission to host the conference. A few weeks later he called to say it had been approved, and we began the detailed planning for an event that would ultimately involve more than 120 participants.

Developing specific Apollo science guidelines was the first priority of the conference. However, our primary objective for this summer study was to expose the assembled experts to the results of the MSFC contractor studies that we had undertaken for post-Apollo missions. Also, we wanted to show those from the geological community, outside USGS, what we had achieved in more than a year of mission planning and simulation at Flagstaff. During 1964 and 1965 MSC had been steadily adding to its science staff, mostly in the earth sciences, and the frictions I mentioned earlier had been growing. Here was our chance to show them we had received the support of mainstream scientists interested in solving the major lunar problems. Eight of Faget’s staffers were invited, led by William Stoney, John Dornbach, and Elbert King. They partici­pated in two of the working groups and also provided technical advice about telemetry and other capabilities that would be needed to support any proposed lunar science ventures.

Two important attendees were Walter Cunningham and Jack Schmitt: Walt was an astronaut, and Jack was an astronaut-to-be. Jack’s selection in the first scientist astronaut group had just been announced, and his personal involve­ment in our Flagstaff work would be an important step in getting the astronauts to accept our ideas on what to do on the Moon and how to do it. Jack would soon be leaving to start one year of flight training; this conference would be his last official duty as a member of USGS. Walt’s astronaut group, the third se­lected, included many who would become well known, such as Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. They had all been given specific Apollo system or technology sectors to monitor and become expert in, besides performing their more ‘‘mun­dane duties’’ of making the transition from military pilot to astronaut. Some had received Gemini mission assignments. Walt’s responsibilities included non­flight experiments, so he was our primary contact in the astronaut corps for any questions about the astronauts’ performing experiments on the Moon. Other astronauts were given this duty as we approached the Apollo launch dates and the more senior astronauts, such as Cunningham, turned their full attention to preparing for specific Apollo missions.

Having Walt at Woods Hole lent immediacy to our planning. Here was someone who might actually carry out our recommendations. Astronauts’ at­tendance at meetings like ours was always appreciated. Requests for them to appear all over the country flooded into NASA. The demand had become so onerous that Alan Shepard and Donald ‘‘Deke’’ Slayton finally set up a ‘‘duty cycle,’’ with each astronaut spending a week or so making public appearances so the others could get their work done. They called this duty being ‘‘in the barrel.’’ Some enjoyed the exposure, some hated it, but all tolerated these distractions, knowing that public relations was part of the job. A separate office was estab­lished at NASA headquarters to ensure that the proper priorities were recog­nized when parceling out this valuable resource. Many requests came from members of Congress, and these were usually put at the top of the list. Although most members supported NASA programs, it was to our advantage to keep them all happy, especially at NASA appropriation times. In any case, Walt was an important addition to our conference, and I assume he was happier meeting with us than on some other public relations assignment.

Walt’s message to us on the first day of the conference, however, was not encouraging. Influenced in part by his training and by his own study and analysis of the preliminary mission timelines, he warned us not to overburden the astronauts with scientific tasks. Housekeeping chores would demand a large percentage of their time on the lunar surface. Such things as recharging the PLSS, the astronauts’ life-support backpack, maintaining work-rest or work – sleep cycles, and monitoring LEM systems—all essential to their safety and health and undertaken in the cramped living space of the LEM—must take priority over science. This was a sobering introduction to lunar science and colored our working groups’ deliberations and corridor talk in the days ahead.

Working groups were established in eight scientific disciplines: geology, geophysics, geodesy-cartography, bioscience, geochemistry, particles and fields, lunar atmosphere measurements, and astronomy. Astronomy was added at the eleventh hour in order to review the preliminary findings of our post-Apollo telescope study and to look beyond Apollo to lunar bases when the Moon could become the site of large astronomical observatories. Such installations might include radio telescopes on the farside where they would be shielded from Earth-made noise. At that time there was no intention to include an astronomy experiment on any of the Apollo missions. One of the members of the astron­omy panel was Karl Henize, then at Northwestern University but destined to be in the scientist-astronaut class of 1967. The other seven working groups, how­ever, were all tasked to review and recommend experiments and operations for the astronauts to carry out on both Apollo and post-Apollo missions, both for two-week staytimes and for lunar bases. The number of attendees (123) ex­ceeded our initial plans, and to ensure that the post-Apollo discussions would be favorably covered, we loaded the attendance with MSFC and USGS staff who had been participating in our studies.

Each working group submitted a report summarizing the results of its delib­erations, and the conference report, compiled by Jay Holmes with the help of many in attendance, was released just before Christmas 1965.5 It immediately supplanted the Sonett Report as the authoritative reference for Apollo and post – Apollo science planning and, as we had hoped, fully endorsed our approach to the post-Apollo missions. In some cases the working groups went far beyond the concepts we had been studying at MSFC and recommended much more complex experiments than we had considered. For example, we reported on the early results of our studies on a hundred-foot drill, and the geology working group recommended developing a drill capable of taking cores at least three hundred meters below the surface in order to penetrate any ejecta layer and reach solid rock. Those of us who had been working on the drill studies realized that achieving such a depth would be a real challenge, and after the con­ference we quickly placed a contract with Bendix to take a first look at how it could be done.

The recommendations of the seven working groups for Apollo experiments are too numerous to list here, and many also pertained to post-Apollo explora­tion, but a few are important in the context of the science payload that was ultimately carried on Apollo. The geology working group listed two primary questions to be answered by the first Apollo landings: What are the composi­tion, structure, and thickness of the Moon’s surficial layer? And what are the composition and the origin of the material underlying this layer? Recognizing that time was the most valuable resource in each mission (reinforced by Walt Cunningham’s presentation), the group gave a lot of effort to recommending tools and procedures that would permit the astronauts to quickly gather the information needed. Even assuming that all the post-Apollo missions we were planning took place, only a tiny fraction of the Moon would ever be visited and studied. Thus it recommended that manned lunar orbiters be scheduled as early as possible, carrying a suite of instruments to acquire lunarwide mapping and remote sensing information on the Moon’s surface composition.

In addition to the geology working group, the geodesy-cartography and geophysics working groups made recommendations dealing with surveying the Moon from lunar orbit. In 1964, under the direction of Peter Badgley, we had begun initial studies of the types of surveys that could be done from an orbiting CSM. We received over one hundred proposals or letters of interest from the scientific community about conducting these investigations, covering all types of surveys from photography to chemical analyses. The Falmouth conference strongly endorsed the need for such investigations.

The deliberations of the geophysics, lunar atmospheres, and particles and fields working groups produced a list of experiments to study the Moon’s subsurface as well as phenomena occurring at or near the surface as a result of interactions with the solar wind or cosmic rays. These interactions were of great interest, since it was difficult or impossible to measure them on Earth because

of the interference of the Earth’s atmosphere and strong magnetic field. For these experiments the Moon could be used as a huge spacecraft floating in free space, on which to mount unique detectors.

The geochemistry-petrology working group also made an important contri­bution to Apollo science. Only two members of the working group were NASA employees at the time (Paul Lowman was one), but all who participated would later become heavily involved in the program either as NASA managers or as sample-return investigators. The working group concentrated on outlining the procedures NASA should follow in selecting the scientists and organizations that would analyze the samples returned by the astronauts; many of their proposals had just been received. It also recommended sampling procedures and container designs for returning the samples in as near pristine condition as possible. Finally the members turned their attention to the design of the Lunar Sample Receiving Laboratory (later shortened to the Lunar Receiving Labora­tory, LRL) where the samples would be quarantined, opened, examined, and sorted for delivery to the laboratories of designated investigators who would then conduct the special analyses they had been selected to do.

Having received the endorsements we were looking for at Falmouth, we charged full speed ahead at Flagstaff to further define potential post-Apollo missions. Based on the emphasis at Falmouth, conserving the astronauts’ time became a major objective of our simulations. We also addressed sample return from these longer missions. The weight allowance for return-to-Earth payloads would be restricted, yet the astronauts would undoubtedly collect many sam­ples during their two-week stay. How could they be sure to bring back the most important ones? We proposed a small sample preparation laboratory that they could use while still on the lunar surface, and one was designed by Joe O’Con­nor, David Dahlem, Gerald Schaber, and Gordon Swann with the help of other USGS staffers. In an undated ‘‘Technical Letter’’ Jerry Schaber reported on the results of one of the field tests, probably conducted sometime in 1966.6

The test confirmed that thin sections of the samples for microscopic study could be prepared in this small laboratory, giving the astronauts, who were receiving some rudimentary training in petrography, a first-order idea of what they had collected. (A thin section is made by sawing rock so thinly that light can be transmitted through the slice, telling a trained geologist its mineralogical composition and something of its history.) On the particular test Schaber reported on, they had included a microscope-television system that permitted simultaneous viewing of the thin sections by both the “astronaut” test subjects and geologists back in the CDRA. As Schaber reported, ‘‘It became apparent during the test that such remote petrographic techniques could furnish a great quantity of information. . . far more than could possibly be returned to Earth in the present LEM vehicle concept. . . . The test results indicated that the thin section image alone could be interpreted with surprising accuracy by the CDRA personnel.’’ (Perhaps a lesson for future Mars explorers, who will certainly face the same problems we were trying to address-how to get the most information back to Earth with a limited return payload.) Instrumentation that we studied as part of such a small portable laboratory included rock-cutting and thin – sectioning equipment, a petrographic microscope, several types of spectrome­ters, a gas chromatograph, and an X-ray diffractometer. This concept was presented a year later at the Santa Cruz summer conference, with the recom­mendation that the images seen in the microscope be beamed back to Earth so that they could be analyzed by experts, thus reducing the time the astronauts spent studying the thin sections.

Our mobility studies at MSFC were providing us with concepts for several types of vehicles that could be carried on the AES missions. In Flagstaff, Rut­ledge ‘‘Putty’’ Mills, with the help of others, translated these ideas into a work­ing model by modifying a truck chassis to carry two test subjects. Once we had this vehicle, which we named Explorer, we planned all our simulations around its use. In 1966 we took delivery of our Cadillac lunar rover, a MOLAB (mobile laboratory) working model that MSFC had built by General Motors, Santa Barbara. It was a Cadillac because this MOLAB model cost $600,000 and had a cab so large that two test subjects could live inside and deploy various geophysi­cal equipment as they drove along, without leaving the cab.

When the MOLAB was delivered to Flagstaff, it created quite a stir. It was an ungainly-looking vehicle with four large, tractor-type wheels supporting a fat, cigar-shaped cab with a rather high center of gravity. Shoemaker, watching it being unloaded from the delivery van and thinking ahead to its use in rugged terrain in the field, declared that the NASA-USGS logos painted on the sides would have to be changed. USGS should appear in large letters on the roof, and NASA should be on the bottom. He was sure that during some future field simulation the MOLAB would roll over, and he wanted any assembled reporters to photograph its ignominious fate with the NASA letters showing as the sponsor and USGS safely out of sight. Gene’s recommendation was not fol­lowed, but his low opinion of the MOLAB test vehicle design was duly reported to MSFC and caused a few red faces. Unfortunately, funding for the AES-lunar base programs was reduced two years after we took delivery of this vehicle, and we had few chances to use it in the field. After a short time it was sent to MSFC, where it was later put on display.

While Gene and his staff were on the front line trying to shape lunar explora­tion, we were dealing with the USGS management back in Washington in the persons of the USGS chief geologists, first with William Pecora then with his successor Harold “Hal” James. Our relationships were always friendly, but although it was clear that they liked this infusion of new money, they never seemed totally comfortable with the assignment. Exploring the Moon didn’t quite fit into the mission of an old-line government agency that had helped open the West a hundred years earlier. This attitude was evident even though at the turn of the century the United States Geological Survey’s first chief geolo­gist, Grove K. Gilbert, had been a pioneer in lunar studies.

Pecora and James, at least publicly, were always strong advocates of working with NASA, and on occasion they would be called on to support lunar explora­tion at congressional hearings or other forums. And certainly the Survey was receiving a lot of favorable publicity from their association with our programs. When the astronauts were covered by the media during geology training trips in some remote corner of the country, there almost always was a USGS staffer identified as lecturing to them. Once the landing missions commenced, USGS contributions became well known, and participants in the field geology experi­ment were in constant demand to discuss the missions. Even the most hard­hearted manager in Washington must have felt some pride at seeing his agency so prominently featured with the country’s new heroes.

Shoemaker was considered a bit of a free spirit within USGS, and all the money he was receiving from NASA, not through his own congressional appro­priation channels, was making him rather independent of his Washington superiors. With his successful creation of the Branch of Astrogeology, Gene decided to relinquish his day-to-day management role and once again reorga­nized by setting up two branches, Astrogeologic Studies under Hal Masursky and Surface Planetary Exploration (SPE) reporting to Alfred H. Chidester. By this time, starting with the first funding transfers in 1961, NASA had trans­ferred almost $14 million to USGS for its various activities, and the action was just beginning to heat up for it to support the Apollo landings. (In all, NASA transferred over $30 million to USGS.)7

With the reorganization, in mid-1967 James sent Arnold Brokaw, a manager with no previous experience in lunar studies, to take charge at Flagstaff and make some further management changes. Brokaw’s appearance altered the dy­namics of our work with SPE, and though we maintained cordial relations with him, we found that the best way to get things done was to work around him and go directly to the staff we had come to know so well over the past three years. The personnel changes made at SPE soon after Brokaw’s arrival put our studies in some disarray. Al Chidester, with whom we had cooperated closely, was transferred and no longer had any role in our work. But with the perseverance and cooperation of Gordon Swann and others, we managed to keep things on track, with our eyes focused on the first landing mission and the hoped-for expansion of our ability to conduct exploration in the post-Apollo era.

By the summer of 1967, with the studies at MSFC and USGS described above under way or completed, we had what I considered to be all the key scientific and operational answers needed to justify more extensive exploration and, eventually, lunar bases. We now felt comfortable providing numbers that would help the scientific community accomplish more productive exploration. Science payloads could be at least 2,500 pounds, including a small vehicle, and the radius of operation at the landing site could be up to five miles. Larger payloads might become available as we continued to learn the full potential of the Apollo hardware; we hoped this would lead to MOLAB missions covering much larger areas on the Moon and establishing lunar bases.

We had a lot of new data to share with the scientific community. NASA headquarters had just announced that it would accept proposals for experi­ments for the Apollo Applications Program (AAP),8 the new name for the post – Apollo program supplanting Apollo Extension System. AAP missions were advertised to begin in 1971 and would include both manned lunar orbit and landing missions, the latter with surface staytimes up to fourteen days. In Will Foster’s office we decided it was time for another summer study to gain more support from scientists for post-Apollo exploration and to encourage them to propose new experiments for the AAP missions. Although the AAP was not yet approved, we thought the announcement was the first step toward its formal recognition, and we wanted to be sure there would be an overwhelming re­sponse of new experiments.

Newell and Foster persuaded Wilmot ‘‘Bill’’ Hess, the newly installed head of the Science and Applications Directorate at MSC, to act as the official host of this conference. The idea was to show the scientific community that under his direction MSC had turned over a new leaf and science would now get the attention it deserved in the Apollo program and any programs that might follow. Until Bill’s arrival, complaints from lunar scientists had been steadily building, and some MSC offices gave the impression that they knew best what science needed to be done and would do it their way. Don’t call us, we’ll call you—maybe. MSC was already managing several Apollo science hardware con­tracts, which added to the concern.

Bill Hess, a physicist, was chief of the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Theoretical Division when he was asked to transfer to MSC at the end of 1966 to lead a new science directorate. His primary mission at Houston was to reorganize the ongoing science efforts and then evaluate why MSC was held in low esteem by many of the scientists involved in Apollo. A tall, heavy man with a commanding presence, Bill was easygoing but with a touch of steel. He had outstanding scientific credentials and knew NASA politics inside out. We all thought he was the perfect choice for the job. I had come to know him well while he was at GSFC and during the Falmouth summer study, and I knew he would be easy to work with. Perhaps a new day would dawn on our relations with MSC.

Hess had an immediate impact on relations with NASA headquarters. Now, for the first time, we had a senior manager on site who was sympathetic to our concerns and who would return our phone calls, a courtesy seldom extended before his arrival. But he never really became one of the inner circle of MSC managers, and the hoped-for improvements were temporary. One problem was that although he was starting a new directorate, he inherited some of the people from Faget’s office who had been giving us all such a hard time—it isn’t easy to fire or transfer civil servants. In his two short years the climate for science improved, but this was soon reversed by his successor.

The site selected for the 1967 conference was the new University of Califor­nia campus at Santa Cruz. Aaron Waters, a noted geologist and coinvestigator on Shoemaker’s Apollo Field Geology Team, had just joined the staff at Santa Cruz and served as the unofficial host. Over 150 people joined us at Santa Cruz, representing all the geoscience disciplines and including a few astronomers.9 MSFC sent only two observers to the conference, because by this time the decision had been made to manage all Apollo science at MSC, and MSFC quickly phased out of most lunar science studies. Goddard Space Flight Center was well represented, led by Isadore ‘‘Izzy’’ Adler and by Jack Trombka, who had returned to GSFC after his stint at headquarters. They wanted to map the lunar surface extensively from orbit using newly developed sensors. Thirty MSC staffers from various organizations attended, including Faget himself, as well as three astronauts: Deke Slayton, Jack Schmitt, and Curtis Michel (a member of Jack’s 1965 scientist-astronaut class).

The large number of MSC attendees attested to Hess’s new influence and perhaps to the recognition that these summer studies were important in shap­ing lunar science. They came prepared to push their point of view on what science the astronauts should conduct and how it should be done. (I should clarify my criticism of MSC, since it does not apply to the organization as a whole. At this time we were able to work with the MSC science staff, although with difficulty, and Hess’s interest in changing the working relationships with headquarters and the science community was smoothing some of the rough edges. Our relations with other organizations at MSC were usually good, and when I was in Houston I could confide in many friends at MSC or sit down at dinner and discuss the state of NASA.)

As we did at Falmouth, we asked the attendees to think in terms of grand exploration missions, and we had the numbers to allow this. With the newly named Apollo Applications Program would come one of the last attempts at persuading Congress and the administration to continue exploring the Moon after the initial Apollo landings. We hoped that the Santa Cruz conference would stimulate the scientific community to continue supporting lunar explo­ration in spite of growing frustrations with attempting to influence the scien­tific content of Apollo.

Our daily sessions were divided into eight working groups, which reported on their findings at the end of the conference. I attended as secretary of the geology working group, which was led by Gene Shoemaker and Al Chidester (one of Al’s last duties before his transfer) and was dominated by USGS staff and university professors who supported the work we had been conducting at Flagstaff. Major recommendations coming out of this working group included (1) increasing the astronauts’ radius of operation beyond walking range, esti­mated to be five hundred feet, by providing wheeled and flying units; (2) developing a dual-launch capability as soon as possible; (3) creating a sample return payload of four hundred pounds; (4) making the geophysical station flexible so we could react to new opportunities; (5) providing an early manned lunar orbital flight to further map the lunar surface in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum and other parts as well; and (6) sequencing orbiter and landing site missions that would include landings at the craters Copernicus and Aristarchus. In general, all the recommendations supported the post – Apollo planning we had undertaken in the past four years.

One of the conference’s recommendations was of special interest to me and others. A second scientist-astronaut selection was under way at the time of the conference, and I was in the final group under consideration. Knowing of the sensitive nature of crew selection and the competition for slots on the landing missions, the working groups tried to be diplomatic when making their recom­mendations for crew training and selection. Also, we hoped that Jack Schmitt would be selected for an early lunar mission, and we did not want to jeopardize his chances by being too aggressive in our advice. The recommendation on astronaut selection and crew training included these words: ‘‘For some of the complicated scientific missions in the later part of the AAP, the Santa Cruz Conference considers that the knowledge and experience of an astronaut who is also a professional field geologist is essential.’’ At the time I hoped they would be to my own benefit during the selection of the next class of scientist-astronauts.

Although the Santa Cruz conference endorsed the need for missions after the scheduled Apollo flights, time was running out for AAP.10 The Santa Cruz attendees, representing many renowned scientists, had proposed important studies on the Moon that were not planned for Apollo. These experiments would require payloads and resources beyond what was anticipated for the Apollo flights. By the time the conference came to a close we knew that NASA budget submittals for fiscal year 1969 would not include funds for missions beyond the already funded Apollo flights. What exquisite timing.

At this point in my government career I had seldom come into contact with the Bureau of the Budget (later named Office of Management and Budget), but in the ensuing years, as a senior official at several agencies, I would frequently meet and argue with its staff members. The original ‘‘faceless bureaucrats,” they had enormous authority and no responsibility. If a program failed or struggled because of arbitrary funding cuts, the agency and program managers would bear the brunt of the failure, not the BOB/OMB staff members who had wielded their red pencils. I don’t recall ever encountering an OMB staffer who had managed a real program; they were blissfully unaware of program com­plexities other than dollars. In spite of this rejection by BOB, we continued to plan for dual-launch missions and extended lunar surface staytimes. We could always hope that the upcoming election might produce an administration more friendly to lunar exploration.

In the fall following the Santa Cruz conference, some major organizational changes took place at NASA headquarters that altered the nature of planning for both the Apollo missions and the missions that might follow the first Apollo landings. With these changes several of us, from various offices, moved to the Apollo Program Office. But before continuing the story of Apollo and post – Apollo science, let’s turn back the calendar to where we left Apollo science at the end of chapter 1.

Science Payloads for Apollo:. The Struggle Begins

In July 1960, before President Kennedy’s dramatic declaration that we would send men to the Moon and return them safely and before Alan Shepard’s successful Mercury launch, NASA announced that it was considering manned circumlunar flights. This unnamed program proceeded slowly, responding in some degree to what the Soviet Union was accomplishing. Then, pushed by growing concerns about Soviet success in space and relying on NASA managers’ assurances that a manned lunar landing was achievable, the president made his historic national commitment, soon endorsed by Congress.

Little by little, with many twists and turns along the way, the program matured. It was given the name Apollo, and its ‘‘mission architecture” was agreed to. Mission architecture comprises those aspects of a typical mission (size of the rocket stages, spacecraft design, flight trajectories, timelines, etc.) required to accomplish its objectives. This “architecture” would eventually control or shape the scientific experiments the Apollo astronauts would con­duct. Here I discuss these aspects of Apollo and briefly describe the supporting programs, both manned and unmanned, that Apollo science depended on. Then later in this chapter and in the following ones I tell about the struggle to add science payloads to the missions. To maintain the continuity of particular topics, I sometimes depart from a strict chronological sequence.

After the lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) approach described in the introduc­tion was adopted, work began to build the Saturn V launch vehicle and two spacecraft: the three-man command and service module (CSM) and the lunar module (LM; earlier called the LEM, lunar excursion module). Lunar missions utilizing LOR required the Saturn V to first place the spacecraft in Earth orbit and then send them on to lunar orbit. After doing their jobs, the initial two stages of the Saturn V, the S-IC and S-II stages, would be jettisoned, reenter the Earth’s atmosphere, and burn up. The upper stage, the SIVB, with the CSM and LM spacecraft attached, would then be sent to the Moon or, in NASAese, put into a translunar injection. Once safely on the way and coasting toward the Moon, the CSM would separate from the SIVB, turn, and pluck the LM from the SIVB, where it had been stored just behind the CSM inside a protective fairing. The SIVB stage, with no further function and essentially depleted of fuel, would go its separate way, deliberately steered away from the Moon in the first flights to avoid any interference with the mission. Together the CSM and LM would continue on to the Moon. Upon arrival the spacecraft would use the CSM engines to brake into a low lunar orbit.

Once in lunar orbit and after all systems had been checked, two astronauts would enter the LM, separate from the CSM, and descend to the lunar surface, leaving the third astronaut in lunar orbit in the CSM to await their return. The LM would be a sophisticated two-stage spacecraft comprising the descent stage that fueled the landing maneuvers and the ascent stage in which the astronauts would travel to the Moon’s surface and return to rendezvous with the CSM in lunar orbit. If the landing had to be aborted, the LM descent and ascent stages could separate while in flight and allow the astronauts to rendezvous with the CSM. The LM also included the small cabin in which they would live during their stay on the lunar surface. The two stages would carry the equipment for use on the lunar surface. After leaving the Moon and meeting the CSM in lunar orbit, the ascent stage would be jettisoned, and when its orbit decayed it would crash on the Moon.

Similarly, the CSM was a multifunction spacecraft. As the name indicated, it had a dual purpose, serving as a command ship and a service module. The command module portion was the control center of the spacecraft and the as­tronauts’ home on both the voyage to the Moon and the return to Earth. The command module pilot would monitor the other astronauts’ progress on the lunar surface and, on later missions, conduct sophisticated experiments. After the astronauts left the Moon’s surface in the LM ascent stage and achieved a lunar orbit, it was the CSM pilot’s job to rendezvous and dock with the LM ascent stage so the astronauts could transfer to the CSM along with any material they brought back from the lunar surface. The rear end of the CSM, the service module, was primarily a rocket and logistics carrier. It supplied power and life – support expendables for the command module and propulsion to permit a wide range of maneuvers. Most important, it provided the propulsion to take the CSM out of lunar orbit and bring the astronauts home. Once Earth reentry was ensured, the service module would be jettisoned. The command module would reenter and parachute to an ocean landing.

With this abbreviated description of the Apollo hardware as background, I can begin to tell how we struggled to place science payloads on board Apollo. Because the Saturn У had to lift some six million pounds of equipment and fuel from the Earth’s surface to Earth orbit and the succeeding stages had to per­form efficiently in order to send as large a payload as possible to the Moon (much of it in the form of rocket fuel), the weight of the total Saturn У and all the many components rapidly became an overriding design concern. On my first visit to Grumman in 1965, at Bethpage on Long Island, to see an early version of the LEM, weight concerns were high on the agenda. After a brief walk around this peculiar contraption with long spindly legs and tiny triangular windows, we attended a status review. The LEM was in trouble; among the issues covered was how to reduce its weight. If this could not be done, the problem would affect all the Apollo systems and subsystems. The Grumman engineers took this so seriously that they were counting rivets as they modified the design to achieve their weight targets. And here we were, trying to convince management to add hundreds of pounds of science payload to the LEM; with­out question it would be difficult.

Based on the scientific guidelines mentioned in chapter 1 and on the Sonett Report, in November 1963 I made a quick parametric study to determine what science might be done at any point in a typical Apollo mission, from translunar injection to the final return to Earth.1 This brief analysis focused primarily on the ‘‘what-ifs’’: for example, what if the first astronauts achieved lunar orbit but could not descend to the surface; what if they descended to the surface but couldn’t land; and what if they landed but couldn’t exit the LEM? My purpose was to identify instruments and equipment that would be needed to make the most of each opportunity and set priorities for what should be included in the (probably small) science payload. As one might guess from the list of what-ifs, a camera, or several cameras, would have high priority. The Martin Marietta contract discussed in chapter 3 was a direct outgrowth of this analysis, con­centrating on what to do if the astronauts made a successful landing but were not permitted to leave the LEM.

Two months later, in February 1964, after our office further reviewed the Sonett Report and the Apollo science program guidelines, Will Foster sent the Space Science Steering Committee of the Office of Space Science and Applica­tions a memorandum providing a preliminary listing of the scientific investiga­tions that should be considered for Apollo.2 This memo, which I discuss in detail in the next chapters, defined the areas of interest for each scientific discipline and listed the scientists who would be asked to help plan individual experiments. With this additional guidance, Ed Davin, Paul Lowman, and I did a more careful analysis of the what-ifs and wrote a short report in early June outlining a program of Apollo scientific investigations covering the first seven Apollo landings, the approved program at that date.3 We went into some detail for the first landing mission, assuming it would allow only four hours of extravehicular activity (EVA) on the lunar surface. We also described a ‘‘limited mission profile’’ that permitted only one hour of EVA. Both the one-hour and four-hour EVA plans took into account our limited knowledge of the con­straints that might be in effect based on prototype Apollo space suits. A primary reason for our report was to have a handout reflecting Manned Space Science’s position available for distribution at the Manned Spacecraft Center Lunar Ex­ploration Symposium that was scheduled for June 15 and 16, 1964.

At the symposium we and many of the scientists named in Foster’s memo were exposed to MSC’s view of what could be done on the lunar surface, allowing for probable operational constraints. Lively debates took place, with the science side attempting to understand and relax these constraints so that more scientific work could be accomplished. The science planning team mem­bers described the experiments they hoped to have the astronauts deploy and the types of studies and observations that would be needed. Everyone left with a much better understanding of what lay ahead before we could all agree on the best methods of exploration during the missions.

The symposium led us to rethink several of the what-ifs. In particular, what if the astronauts could not leave the LEM to deploy the experiments they were carrying? Members of the seismology panel thought the seismometer could be designed to be turned on from Earth while still in the descent stage equipment bay, thus allowing some readings of the Moon’s seismicity, especially if any large natural events occurred near the landing site. MSC had pointed out that the landings would take place at low sun angles and there was a fifty-fifty chance that after touchdown the LEM windows would be facing the Sun, making photography from inside the LEM difficult. If the astronauts could not leave the LEM, the landing site would be poorly documented. We again suggested adapt­ing the LEM telescope or adding a periscope to permit photographs, but we received no encouragement.

Another interesting discussion dealt with speeding up one of the housekeep­ing tasks—recharging the space suits’ life-support batteries. In the preliminary timeline that was presented, six hours were allocated for the recharge while the astronauts were back in the LEM, thus restricting the total EVA time. The Crew Systems Division pointed out that simply swapping out new batteries could reduce this time to fifteen minutes, and the spent batteries could be recharged during any subsequent downtime. Our office proposed reserving some of the science payload for additional batteries (about five pounds each). We updated our June report to reflect our new knowledge.4 Fortunately, payload weight allowances grew and we were spared a painful trade-off, giving up science payload for additional batteries to get more EVA time.

During the symposium two trends were becoming evident. We were more and more at odds with the MSC Engineering and Development Directorate on how to incorporate science on the missions and even on what experiments should be carried. Yet we were developing a close relationship with members of the Crew Systems Division, which had day-to-day contact with the astronauts in developing operational protocols covering not only future scientific work but all the astronauts’ other activities. Like our good working relationships with other MSC offices, this one would prove invaluable in the years ahead, since they would act as intermediaries with MSC management.

Three other programs—Ranger, Surveyor, and Lunar Orbiter—were also under way at this time, designed to support the manned lunar landings. These were unmanned programs managed by OSSA at NASA headquarters and im­plemented by NASA field centers: the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for Ranger and Surveyor and Langley Research Center for Lunar Orbiter. Both the Ranger and Surveyor projects were initiated in the late 1950s, not to support Apollo but as purely unmanned scientific programs. However, these two proj­ects soon succumbed to the needs of the larger Apollo program. Eventually both were reduced from their original scope, reflecting both funding and pri­ority concerns, but their primary functions endured. Ranger would provide early detailed pictures of the lunar surface, so necessary in planning for the manned landings, and Surveyor would demonstrate the ability to soft land a spacecraft and would also send back some close-up pictures of the lunar surface and engineering data on its characteristics. Lunar Orbiter had the specific objective of taking detailed photos of potential Apollo landing sites.

The programs would be increasingly complex, testing our ability to operate spacecraft at lunar distances, which could not be done in the late 1950s when Ranger and Surveyor were conceived. Among other considerations, a network of communication stations would have to be built around the world to permit round-the-clock tracking and control of the spacecraft. The three projects rep­resented important technological advances, but they would be far less difficult to develop and operate than the Apollo missions. By 1963 the Soviets had already sent six partially successful Lunik spacecraft to the Moon; with these and their manned Earth orbital flights, they were considered far ahead of us in developing and operating such complicated missions.

Leading up to the Apollo flights, the Mercury and Gemini projects made NASA confident that it had conquered the hazards of manned space flight. Faith 7, piloted by Gordon Cooper, the last spacecraft in the Mercury program, had already splashed down in the Pacific by the time I joined NASA. The six manned Mercury flights accomplished all the goals assigned to the project and more. NASA had graduated to the next big step—Gemini—with new confi­dence in its ability to safely launch men and equipment into space and recover them at sea even if the splashdown occurred far from the planned recovery point, as on Scott Carpenter’s Aurora 7 flight. Apollo would also be designed around an ocean recovery, the final act in each mission. The Soviets’ manned program made all its recoveries on land, usually somewhere in one of the eastern republics. Ocean recovery was viewed as less risky in case of reentry problems, and with our large naval forces deployed around the world, ocean recovery of any Apollo crew was judged easier.

When I joined NASA in late 1963, all the Gemini flights still lay ahead. They were designed to provide the training for the more complex space operations needed for the Apollo missions. The Gemini spacecraft carried two astronauts in cramped quarters. They would perform maneuvers never before attempted in space, such as a rendezvous with another spacecraft and the movements outside the Gemini capsule that NASA called extravehicular activity and the press dubbed space walks. Considering that men had been operating in space only four short years before the first manned Gemini flight, these missions would be truly groundbreaking. The Soviets were still ahead in number of missions and man-hours in orbit, but their spacecraft were not capable of maneuvering like the Gemini spacecraft, and their EVAs had been short, teth­ered stunts. On the Gemini EVAs the astronauts would perform specific tasks like those that might be needed on an Apollo mission.

Like the Mercury program, Gemini accomplished all its planned objectives. Gemini 8 was especially memorable for me. It was launched on March 16, 1966, its crew consisting of Neil Armstrong and David Scott. The launch coincided with one of the aerospace industry’s most important social events, the Goddard Memorial Dinner in Washington, D. C. In 1966 this dinner attracted aerospace luminaries from both industry and government. The Goddard trophy, named after Robert Goddard, the father of United States rocketry, was awarded to an individual or group in industry or government chosen for special contributions in advancing the space program during the past year. The award on this night went to President Lyndon Johnson, with Vice President Hubert Humphrey accepting for the president.

In 1966 the Goddard dinner was a rather intimate gathering of some three to four hundred guests. I say intimate because today the dinner attracts more than two thousand, with the men in black tie or dress uniforms and the ladies in formal gowns. The 1966 dinner, as I recall, had few women, and all the civilians wore business suits. Government attendees were usually the guests of some company, and the invitations were—and still are—carefully orchestrated to avoid any perception of conflict of interest, although it was clear who your host was. Tickets cost about $35 in those days; today they are $175, not an insignifi­cant sum then or now. I was the guest of Bendix, one of the contractors working on the studies I was sponsoring at Marshall Space Flight Center.

As the guests at the head table were being acknowledged, including the vice president, there was an interruption in the speeches. Someone walked up and whispered in George Mueller’s ear. He nodded and said a few words to several other NASA managers seated near him, then they all got up and filed out. The room buzzed, but the program continued with the vice president’s speech accepting the prestigious award on behalf of the president. It was several hours before any of us knew why Mueller and the others left. Gemini 8 had experi­enced a serious problem.

In the first scheduled space docking between a Gemini capsule and an earlier-launched Agena target vehicle, the two spacecraft, after being joined for about thirty minutes, began to spin rapidly, forcing Armstrong to back away.

One of the capsule’s thrusters had stuck open, causing the rapid rotation; only through Armstrong’s extraordinary skill were they able to bring the spacecraft under control. This complication forced an early termination of the mission, and not all its objectives were achieved. But Armstrong’s and Scott’s cool be­havior in this dangerous incident (some estimated they only had a few more seconds to correct the problem before centrifugal force would have caused them to black out) undoubtedly elevated their position in the astronaut corps and put them on Deke Slayton’s short list of prime candidates for the later Moon landings.

In early 1964, with the ink barely dry on his agreement to coordinate science activities between OSSA and the Office of Manned Space Flight through Will Foster’s office, Mueller took the next step toward controlling what science would be carried out on the Apollo flights. Many types of experiments besides those falling under OSSA’s purview were being suggested by other offices. Some dealt with the life sciences, primarily advocated by MSC’s Medical Directorate, and a series of engineering experiments were being proposed by several NASA offices as well as the Department of Defense. To establish uniform requirements for the experiments and set priorities for inclusion on the flights, Mueller established the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board, with membership from all the competing offices but chaired by OMSF.

Attention to science concerns was advancing on another front at MSC. In 1963 Max Faget had established a new division in his Engineering and Develop­ment Directorate, called Space Environment, that would interact with the sci­entific community. At the beginning of 1964 this new office, led at first by Faget, began to address two important questions: How would the returned samples be handled, and who would be responsible for receiving, cataloging, archiving, and distributing samples to those approved to do the analyses? MSC, led by Elbert A. King, a recently hired geologist, began lobbying to build a small laboratory to carry out these tasks. At the end of 1964 Homer Newell asked the National Academy of Sciences’ Space Science Board to determine if there was a requirement for a special facility to handle the samples. The board, chaired by Harry Hess, forwarded its report in February 1965.5 It endorsed the need for a rather modest laboratory that, among its other functions, would quarantine the lunar samples for some unspecified time to ensure that they did not contain dangerous pathogens. With the release of the report, a major difference of opinion surfaced between headquarters and MSC on where the lab should be.

The report pointed out some of the pros and cons of establishing such a facility at MSC but noted that the committee did not believe it should be there. Those of us in Foster’s office who had an interest in the outcome of this debate were dead set against the lab’s being built at MSC. Based on our earlier attempts to work with some of the MSC science staff and with particular individuals in the Space Environment Division, we were suspicious that their wanting to build a special sample facility at MSC was a devious attempt to control all the re­turned samples and thus justify having MSC staff carry out most of the analy­ses. We advocated considering an existing laboratory such as Fort Dietrick in nearby Maryland, which already had experience in handling dangerous biolog­ical material, as the repository for the samples.

Congress also became involved, since a new facility would be costly. In spite of all these objections, the Lunar Receiving Laboratory was built at MSC, and King was later named the first curator. Although some of our fears were realized in the ensuing years, the LRL was very successful. A major reason our office accepted MSC as the LRL location was the appointment of Bill Hess, whom we all trusted to make the right decisions on how it would operate. Hess oversaw staffing and the development of procedures that would ensure the integrity of sample analysis and control sample distribution.

The many functions the LRL would perform required a unique design. Because of its extraordinary mission and the controversy over its siting, during the next several years I watched the construction with interest on my many visits to MSC. One of the concerns the National Academy of Sciences commit­tee had about locating the lab at MSC was the construction of a radiation­counting facility. It had to be built far below the surface (fifty feet) to shield selected samples from background radiation. Gamma radioactivity had to be measured as soon as possible after the samples arrived, before the shorter-lived nuclides decayed. These sensitive measurements (never before attempted on such fresh extraterrestrial material as the Apollo samples would represent) would furnish information on the origin and history of the samples and of the Moon itself. During counting and storage, the samples would have to be held in a room that was not only below ground but heavily encased in steel plating and other types of shielding. It was feared that underground construction at MSC, where the water table was high, would greatly increase the cost of the lab. I attended the unveiling of the low-level counting facility and heard about how difficult it had been to find steel for the outer shell that would meet the strin­gent low-radiation standards. Steel cast after the United States and Soviet nu­clear tests would be contaminated by the fallout from these tests so that back­ground radiation would be too high even with a thick layer of dunite between the outer shell and the counting laboratory itself. The contractor finally found some scrap steel from the hull of a ship built before World War II.

In addition to the low-level counting facility, the LRL had several other unique features, including crew quarantine living quarters. After splashdown and before leaving the CSM, the astronauts would don special isolation gar­ments so as not to come into direct contact with the helicopter recovery team that picked them up and flew them to the carrier. Once on board the carrier the astronauts would be rushed to the mobile quarantine facility, which looked suspiciously like an Airstream trailer without wheels (it was built by Airstream to NASA specifications). You may have seen pictures of the Apollo 11 astronauts at a window in the MQF, waving to President Nixon on board the carrier USS Hornet. The MQF was designed to be airlifted back to Ellington Air Force Base, then it would be trucked to MSC and the LRL. Once at the LRL, the astronauts and the physicians who had volunteered to accompany them would leave the MQF and pass through an airlock into their quarantine quarters, called the crew reception area, where they would stay for the rest of their twenty-one-day quarantine period. The CM would also be flown back to the LRL, since its interior would be considered contaminated from lunar dust adhering to the astronauts’ space suits.

The LRL interior was maintained at negative atmospheric pressure to pre­vent the escape of any dangerous organisms. When you visited, either to attend astronaut debriefings or to observe sample preparation, you passed through an airlock, popped your ears, and went on about your business. Inside the LRL were a number of gas-tight glove cabinets and vacuum chambers where techni­cians would open the sample bags, record their contents, and prepare the samples for shipment to the sample analysis principal investigators (PIs) at the end of the quarantine period. The LRL functioned with few problems over the next five years, and it exists today as a curatorial facility, although most of the samples from all the missions have been transferred to another location. Only small amounts of sample material were distributed and analyzed in great detail. NASA still entertains proposals to examine samples from those qualified to conduct some unique study.

Backtracking slightly, in January 1965, over the signatures of George Mueller and Apollo program director Sam Phillips, OMSF issued the Apollo Program Development Plan.6 Originally a classified document (I assume to keep the Soviets from knowing our schedules and other details), the plan was designed to ‘‘clearly identify the program requirements, responsibilities, tasks, resources, and time phasing of the major actions required to accomplish the Apollo Program.’’ Consisting of 220 pages of detailed guidance on all aspects of the program, it stated in the introduction that the manned lunar flights would conduct scientific experiments in cislunar space and that the manned lunar landings would be made ‘‘to explore the moon’s surface and to conduct scien­tific experiments.” All the various parts of the program were identified from the development of the Saturn У and its several components to the launch facilities and ground tracking stations. The plan also identified which NASA center or other government agency would develop each of the pieces. Despite Mueller’s and Newell’s recent coordination in establishing the Manned Space Science office, the plan is remarkably silent on how scientific undertakings would be managed or who would ensure that experiments would be ready when needed. Reading between the lines, you could assume that MSC had this assignment under the heading of Flight Mission Operations, but scientific operations were not specifically called out. The Manned Space Science office receives one men­tion, as a title only, in a facilities analysis matrix. Why it was placed in that sec­tion of the plan is a mystery—probably an afterthought by the authors. In early 1965 Apollo’s objective clearly was to land men on the Moon and return them safely, the few words in this new plan dealing with science notwithstanding.

In 1965 Mueller also established the Apollo Site Selection Board (ASSB). In the beginning the board was chaired by Sam Phillips and included members from headquarters and center offices. Its initial function was to set priorities for Lunar Orbiter photographic coverage to ensure that the pictures needed for selecting Apollo landing sites were adequately identified and scheduled. After Lunar Orbiter successfully completed its objectives, the ASSB turned its atten­tion to the more difficult task of choosing the first and subsequent Apollo landing sites.

In most respects the first landing sites were easier to select than the later sites. The ‘‘Apollo zone of interest’’ was quickly established based on the predicted performance of the Saturn У and the Apollo spacecraft. The ‘‘zone,’’ bounded by the lunar coordinates five degrees north and south latitude and forty-five degrees east and west longitude, covered—as far as we could tell from telescopic photography—mostly smooth lunar mare areas, another requirement for the first landing. Conditions for touchdown required that the LM come to rest at an angle no greater than twelve degrees from the horizontal, to avoid problems when the ascent stage lifted off. Since one of the LM’s landing struts might end up in a depression or the lunar surface might have a low bearing strength, the ASSB was hoping to find areas rivaling a billiard table.

After the initial landing conditions were met, it was anyone’s guess where the next landings would take place. Again, overall system performance dictated mission safety rules, which in turn would restrict site accessibility. MSC wanted to stay close to the lunar equator for flexibility. Those of us pushing lunar science wanted to stretch system performance to its limits and land near a variety of important features that promised to answer important scientific questions. Such features usually augured rough landing sites.

While all these assignments were under way, Homer Newell was putting procedures in place that would give OSSA greater influence concerning the experiments carried on Apollo. In addition to the National Academy of Sci­ences’ Space Science Board—a powerful voice for science from outside the halls of NASA that gave him overall recommendations and direction—Newell looked to the Space Science Steering Committee (SSSC) to help oversee the selection of experiments for both the manned and unmanned programs. This committee, composed of government employees, was assisted by several subcommittees that included members from both inside and outside NASA. The subcommit­tee that dealt most directly with lunar science was the Planetology Subcommit­tee, chaired by Urner Liddell. It met frequently to review and approve scientific proposals for the unmanned programs, and in 1964 it began to provide OSSA with Apollo science oversight.

Liddell was a strong proponent of unmanned space science and a confirmed skeptic about the value of having man (astronauts) in the loop. His leadership of this subcommittee would create some friction between OMSF and OSSA in the next few years. Liddell had a voice in choosing members, and he selected prominent scientists who supported his low opinion of manned science. Fortu­nately there was one strong defender of manned science on the subcommittee— Harry Hess, who also chaired the Space Science Board. Hess, a renowned geologist and a professor at Princeton, would soon become one of our leading champions, countering the scientific elite who shared Liddell’s opinion that no good science would be accomplished on the Apollo missions. Dick Allenby also served on the subcommittee. He represented our positions on manned science but usually found himself overruled by his former boss, Liddell.

Bob Fudali, never one to mince words, wrote: ‘‘The character of Urner Liddell continues to fascinate me. It was most instructive to watch him squelch the junior subcommittee members with his overbearing mannerisms.’’7 The Planetology Subcommittee meeting of January 1965 that Fudali was reporting on introduced two new members: Donald Wise, from Franklin and Marshall University, and George Field, from Princeton. Wise later had a prominent role in Apollo science. Since they were the two most junior members, they were undoubtedly the unnamed squelchees.

The agenda for that meeting was long and included discussions of the design and location of the LRL and developments in the ‘‘Moon Blink’’ project. Those attending were asked to rank four experiments proposed for the first Apollo landing: passive seismometer, gravimeter, magnetometer, and micrometeorite detector. The first three experiments did not yet have identified PIs, and the last one was proposed by MSC. The seismometer and gravimeter were given top priority, and a decision on the magnetometer was deferred. The micrometeorite experiment was given the lowest priority as ‘‘not germane’’ to lunar science. MSC sent John ‘‘Jack’’ Eggleston to the meeting to participate in the experiment and LRL discussions. While defending MSC as the future LRL location, he made an interesting disclaimer. In reaction to negative comments from the subcommittee members, Fudali reports, Eggleston said he realized MSC lacked qualified scientific personnel and that it would hire only enough technicians and junior scientists to assist the sample investigators chosen by the scientific community. But MSC soon went back on this pledge and hired a large scientific staff, assigned to Faget’s organization. Most would be transferred to the Science Directorate when it was formed, reporting to Bill Hess.

With minimum fanfare, we brought into the program prominent scientists who would develop specific experiments. By this time a good consensus existed on the important experiments to conduct during the Apollo missions. This made it a relatively straightforward task for the Planetology Subcommittee and its parent body, the SSSC, to select PIs. The only potential difficulty would be choosing between well-known PIs wanting to do the same experiment. This competition never arose because the major experiments were proposed by teams of scientists that included some of the most recognized names in their disciplines. The first PI selected under this procedure to lead the Field Geology

Team was Gene Shoemaker. PIs were soon named for all the high-priority experiments.

In June 1965, under the auspices of OSSA, we circulated within NASA the first comprehensive report on the exploration and utilization of the Moon. The report included important contributions from many OSSA offices, since it covered plans for both manned and unmanned lunar exploration extending to 1979.8 Will Foster’s office took the lead in summarizing our current thinking on manned missions, beginning with the first Apollo landing, shown as occurring at the end of 1969 and progressing through dual-launch Apollo Extension System manned orbital and surface missions to the first lunar bases.

We explained the rationale for this mission progression by tying it to the important scientific questions and operations that would justify a continuing program. Many of the studies we had initiated at MSFC were cited to provide the detail the plan required to justify the types of missions referred to in the plan’s ninety-six pages. The report concluded by stating, ‘‘The lunar explora­tion program is an important part of the nation’s space program. Scientific investigations in this field are a significant aspect of the overall endeavor to advance our capability and to continue U. S. leadership in the adventure into space.’’ Those of us who had been working on manned lunar exploration saw this statement as OSSA’s first acknowledgment of the importance of manned exploration. Up to this point we had always felt that the science side of NASA was merely tolerating manned missions while its eyes were on bigger targets— unmanned explorations of the planets.

Just before the Falmouth conference, OMSF published the first Apollo Exper­iments Guide, intended to supplement the announcements of flight opportuni­ties (AFOs) then in circulation or any that might be released by NASA offices about opportunities to carry out experiments on the Apollo missions.9 A short preliminary guide had been issued in June 1964, peppered with such warnings as ‘‘best estimate,’’ ‘‘experiments shall be conducted on a non-interference basis,’’ and ‘‘specific weight assignments. . . cannot be stated for each flight at this time,’’ to indicate the uncertainty associated with putting experiments on the Apollo missions.10 The 1965 edition contained more information but con­tinued to demonstrate OMSF’s ambivalence about encouraging scientific exper­iments on the Apollo flights. Eighteen months earlier we had issued preliminary guidelines for Apollo science including a designation of 250 pounds for science payloads. The new guide seemed to be a step backward. It estimated seventeen cubic feet of stowage on the LM and the capacity to return eighty pounds of samples from the lunar surface, but it listed no overall allocation of payload weight on what were termed the early developmental missions. One could interpret the guide to mean that the stowage space might be empty on these flights and that the only ‘‘science’’ conducted would be the astronauts’ collecting samples with their gloved hands.

The 1965 guide stated that the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board (MSFEB) would approve the experiments to be carried and outlined the pro­cedures it would follow. The board, nominally chaired by George Mueller but often led by a deputy, consisted of senior managers from headquarters and field centers and one representative of the Air Force Systems Command. Will Foster was our representative for lunar exploration. Experiments would be selected by various NASA offices such as OSSA and then passed to the MSFEB. Those of us who had been trying to increase the science payload allocation looked with deep suspicion on this board because it included members from NASA offices of Space Medicine and Advanced Research and Technology as well as MSC’s director, Bob Gilruth. We knew that these offices and MSC had already pro­posed some Apollo experiments (such as the micrometeorite detector). We could see the limited science payload, however much it ultimately turned out to be, being slowly eaten up and given to what we felt were peripheral experi­ments, not designed to study the Moon as a planetary body. In later years, when the actual experiments were approved by the MSFEB, Ernst Stuhlinger often represented Wernher von Braun and MSFC, giving us another voice on the board who fully understood what the science community was trying to accom­plish for lunar exploration.

As the final filter, the MSFEB would carry out another important function. For all space missions, manned or unmanned, AFOs would usually give experi­menters broad guidelines on integrating experiments with the spacecraft they would fly on. But at this early date, 1965, no Saturn У boosters or Apollo spacecraft had flown, so many of the integration specifications were guessti­mates. Experiment design considerations dealing with such aspects as vibration levels, acceleration forces, shock, and acoustical levels would not be known for some time. In addition, other concerns such as avoiding materials that might cause adverse reactions like electrolytic corrosion or electromagnetic inter­ference (airplane passengers must turn off electronic equipment during the early and final stages of a flight) and a host of other dangerous interactions with the spacecraft or booster could not be completely defined. The MSFEB would be the ultimate judge of whether the experiment, in many cases conceived and designed before final specifications were available, passed the rigid integration criteria and would be approved, rejected, or sent back for modification. Inte­gration of the experiments was a difficult hurdle because experiments also had to pass ‘‘astronaut integration” if they required any input from the astronauts, a developing art in 1965. Principal investigators soon learned that if they wanted to participate they needed patience and perseverance and that they must over­look what seemed like strange, bureaucratic rules.

Time was also becoming a factor in selecting and building the experiments. The guide advertised 1968 to 1969 as the need date for delivering the experi­ments to Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Along with the uncertainties mentioned above, a tight schedule added to the challenge of preparing good experiments. Although the Apollo Experiments Guide did not include science payload weight allocations, we continued to plan based on 250 pounds. We divided this weight into three parts: 100 to 150 pounds reserved for a surface geophysical station, 100 pounds for the geology equipment, including cameras and sample con­tainers, and a small allocation for orbital science, essentially whatever might be left over. When potential experimenters inquired about payload availability, we offered these numbers for planning their submissions.

At the end of September 1965, in response to a request by Bob Seamans and as an elaboration on the plan we circulated in June, Mueller and Newell for­warded the first ‘‘Lunar Exploration Plan.’’11 The forwarding memo stated that the attached plan had been coordinated between OMSF and OSSA. This was indeed true, for along with others I had worked on the attachment wearing both my OMSF and OSSA hats. Events were moving rapidly, however, and during the three days between completing the plan and sending it on to Sea­mans, two major management decisions had been made: Surveyor missions after Surveyor 6 and Lunar Orbiter flights after Orbiter 5 would be canceled. We went back to modify the plan reflecting these changes, and at the end of October we issued a revised plan noting that there might be follow-ons to the Surveyor and Lunar Orbiter programs after 1970, though no funding was identified. Seven Apollo missions, including test flights and the first land­ing attempts, were shown on the schedule through 1969, and by the end of 1971 these would be followed by three Apollo Applications Program (AAP) surface missions and three orbital missions. Additional AAP surface and orbital missions were dashed in on the schedule chart through 1973, and after that date a new category, Extended Manned Missions, would begin, continuing beyond 1975.

From our perspective this plan contained all the right words, words we had labored to have our senior management embrace publicly for the past two years. Now we had it in writing. To give just a brief sample, the plan stated: ‘‘The primary objective. . . is to define the nature, origin, and history of the moon as the initial step in the comparative study of the planets. . . . A secondary objec­tive, following naturally from the first, is to evaluate the potential uses of the moon.’’ Apollo and post-Apollo lunar exploration would accomplish all we wanted if the words were followed up with action. But only NASA management had bought into the plan; allies in the administration and Congress were still lacking. The plan would be updated from time to time, not always by formal documents but by working papers written to reflect the latest guidance and the realities of NASA funding projections.

To improve our relationship with the MSC Flight Operations Directorate (FOD) and benefit from its ‘‘real mission’’ experience, we invited some of the flight controllers to come to Flagstaff and witness a training exercise we would be conducting for a post-Apollo mission simulation. Our demonstration of Command Data Reception and Analysis, a smoothly functioning embryonic science support room, once denigrated by MSC, convinced FOD that an exper­iments room would be a valuable asset.

After much give and take on how experimenters and the science community would interact with mission controllers and the astronauts in real time during an Apollo mission, MSC agreed in 1967 to build an experiments room in the mission control building. Christopher Kraft and his flight controllers in FOD deserve the credit for recognizing the wisdom of having such a facility, but the intervention of Jack Schmitt, Donald Lind, and other astronauts who had worked with the training and simulation teams assembled by USGS was critical to getting this agreement. They had firsthand knowledge of how valuable it would be for the crews on the lunar surface to have experienced scientists backing them up.

The arrangement was formalized in April 1967, when FOD issued its ‘‘Flight Control Handbook for Experimenters.’’12 It called for an experiments room, later named Science Support Room (SSR), to be located in building 30 near the Mission Operations Control Room (MOCR). The MOCR was the large room, filled with banks of monitors manned by engineers in short-sleeved white shirts and ties, seen by everyone who watched the Apollo space missions on television. During initial discussions it was proposed that the experiments room be lo­cated with other support teams in building 226, a few blocks away, and for Apollo 8 that was its location. However, we were able to convince Chris Kraft that for the landing missions it had to be nearer the action, like other critical Staff Support Rooms (SSR again), so that the displays and other information we planned to coordinate would be accessible to those who might have to make quick decisions. This would be especially important for the later missions, when we expected that lunar surface operations would be much more complex and timelines would be jammed with tasks. Being in the same building as the MOCR also let us use the pneumatic tube message system that connected all the SSRs in the Mission Operations building and was used extensively to pass information around. This sounds primitive today, when it is so easy to commu­nicate between computer terminals, but in 1967 it was state of the art and local area networks were still a technology of the future. The staffing and layout for the experiments room were still under study at the time the handbook was issued, but eventually we were assigned room 314, which contained TV moni­tors, tables, phones, other equipment, and eventually closed-circuit television that allowed quick exchange of vital information. Perhaps as a small bone to keep the headquarters types off their backs, a console was designated for a headquarters representative, and that is where we usually were stationed when the missions began rotating shifts with Ed Davin, John “Jack” Hanley, Donald Senich, and me.

In the coming years, as we continued to refine our activities in the SSR, it became clear that we needed more space to accommodate all the people and equipment we required to follow the action. Another small SSR was added in the building; Raymond Batson from USGS recalls that during Apollo 11 this auxiliary SSR got so crowded you could hardly move around. In addition to Ray’s crew, who were monitoring the television pictures coming back from the Moon and the air-to-ground conversations with the astronauts, Bendix engi­neers were at their consoles keeping track of the data transmitted from the deployed experiments. Court reporters were also taking down the voice com­munications so this historic record wouldn’t be lost if the tape recorders mal­functioned, as they frequently did in NASA’s early days.13 After Apollo 11 the auxiliary SSR was moved to a larger room where a plotter allowed Ray’s crew to create a real-time map of each landing site showing where the astronauts were and had been. They would supplement the map with Polaroid panoramas captured from the TV pictures sent back to Earth. Based on all this informa­tion, the staff and PIs in the SSRs would formulate questions and send them to the capsule communicator (CapCom), who would then decide whether to pass them on to the astronauts.14 Later in the program, for the final landings, three SSRs were staffed, two for surface science and one for orbital science.

As soon as a Saturn У cleared the launch tower, control of the mission transferred from KSC to MSC. MSFC also continued to play an important role throughout the mission and kept a crew at MSC, since they were the experts to be consulted if there were problems with any of the Saturn rocket stages. Backing up the SSRs would be support rooms in building 45 for all of Apollo’s major systems. They were manned by contractor and NASA staff who had access to detailed knowledge of what made the systems and experiments tick.

This behind-the-scenes support, which most people who followed the mis­sions were unaware of, figured prominently in saving the Apollo 13 astronauts and was portrayed rather accurately in the movie. Every detail for every system and subsystem could be found and displayed in these rooms, almost instantly, and they were manned around the clock while missions were under way. They were connected by phone to the MOCR and in most cases were directly linked to the contractor’s plant or manufacturing facility so that additional brain­power could be brought to bear in an emergency.

As important as it was for the experiments to have assigned SSRs, the hand­book also formalized the procedures for simulations with the flight controllers. This was another major step forward and for the first time placed experiment simulation in the mainstream with all the other simulations carried out for the missions. Simulations would cover normal and abnormal situations that might require consultation with the SSR, and the flight controllers were given par­ticularly wicked problems as they gained experience. The schedule called for the experiment simulations to start four weeks before launch, so beginning in June 1969 we had to man the SSR with the staff that would be present during the actual missions.

A memo to my staff in September 1970 lists a schedule for Apollo 14 surface experiment simulations, giving an idea of what these simulations entailed.15 By this time simulations were conducted from the Mission Control Center, Hous­ton (same place as MOCR, different name). The memo called for two simula­tions of the planned first EVA and three simulations of the second, spread over two months rather than the one month originally planned. It was getting hard to assemble the large cast of characters that was required and, more important, to fit the simulation into the astronauts’ tight schedules. The simulations would include the prime crew, using either sites at KSC or one designated by Flagstaff. There were also two ‘‘canned’’ simulations at Houston when the astronauts were not part of the exercise and the flight controllers and our SSR staff were tested with contrived problems. Later missions, because of their complexity, added additional simulations. Each simulation would last four hours or more and would be followed by a candid critique, usually leading to new guidelines on how to respond to emergencies during the real mission.

As the PIs and their supporters began to spend more and more time at MSC, the members of the Field Geology Team availed themselves of a rather unusual perk. Jack Schmitt had long since completed his flight training and was now in Houston full time. He had a modest bachelor apartment just a few blocks from the center. His old Flagstaff buddies saw nothing wrong in staying there when they were in town, and if you visited Jack late at night you usually found at least one of them in a sleeping bag on the floor. I don’t know how many keys were in circulation, but Jack’s hospitality helped the visiting team members stretch their meager government per diem to include extra dinners at the San Jacinto Inn, the Rendezvous, or some other favorite restaurant. Jack was also using the LM and CSM simulators at MSC and KSC when they were not scheduled for designated crew simulations, to become familiar with these complicated space­craft. When Jack was selected in the first scientist-astronaut class in 1965, some of us who knew him at Flagstaff recommended that he make it clear to Deke Slayton and Al Shepard how seriously he wanted to be looked on as one of the ‘‘regular guys,’’ removing any stigma from his hyphenated title. Whether or not this urging had any influence, Jack spent long hours in the simulators and added to his flight log by flying the astronauts’ T-38s around the country, frequently coming to Washington to attend meetings and briefings at head­quarters. Did Jack’s diligence have any direct effect on Slayton and Shepard? I have to believe it did, and as we know, he was selected for the crew of the final Apollo landing mission.

Mission Control interactions with the experiments to be conducted on the journey to the Moon or on the way back home, as well as those conducted in lunar orbit, were not completely defined in 1967, but the groundwork had been established. Each experiment was assigned an FOD experiments activity officer who would represent the experiment through all phases from planning to flight operations. This person would work with the PI(s) to ensure that the experi­ment was properly integrated and operated. If a mission contingency should arise requiring some modification to normal operations, the EAO was charged with coordinating with the PI and then representing his interests in maintain­ing the experiment’s integrity during the brainstorming to solve the problem. Although it sounds bureaucratic, acknowledgment that such interaction might be necessary was another encouraging sign that science objectives had moved up in the MSC engineering culture. With so much going on during a mission, great discipline was required for all mission operations, and precise procedures were followed for all the flight systems—not just the experiments—during the actual missions. But by the time the Apollo flights began, PI relations with the flight controllers had improved significantly, and minor adjustments could be made in a much less formal atmosphere. Most of the FOD staff became strong champions for science, and when obstacles arose they did all they could to overcome them.

Another advance for science was the promotion of scientist-astronauts to be mission scientists and CapComs during the lunar landing missions. CapComs were the only ones allowed to speak directly to the astronauts during missions, and they had to be astronauts themselves, a rule still followed for all manned missions. This is not to say that the other astronauts serving as CapComs did not do an acceptable job in directing the crews or relaying information and suggestions to them. But this change went a long way toward reassuring us, especially the field geology PI, that the best advice would be quickly available if the astronauts met with some unexpected discovery or predicament on the lunar surface. We had always hoped that the PIs, and other Earth-bound scien­tists, would be able to communicate directly with the astronauts, but this never happened except for one instance described in chapter 12.

In mid-September 1967 I attended a dry run at MSC of a session on Apollo mission planning that would be presented later to MSC senior management.16 Owen Maynard of the Apollo Spacecraft Project Office (ASPO) chaired the meeting. Maynard had been involved with Apollo from its earliest days, having served in 1960 on the Langley Space Task Group that drew up the first specifica­tions for the launch vehicle and Apollo spacecraft. With Joe Shea, he had enumerated the steps that had to be achieved as the program progressed toward a lunar landing. At this meeting we were briefed for the first time on the development schedule that MSC expected to follow leading up to the first landing, which was now designated the G mission.17 Joseph Loftus discussed the three types of missions that were possible when we reached the final level: (1) touch and go—this mission might stay on the lunar surface for as little as two hours with no EVA permitted, have an umbilical EVA of half an hour, or have an EVA of an hour and a half with the astronauts using the portable life – support system (PLSS) within a limited radius of the LM; (2) limited stay— structured around twenty-two and a half hours on the lunar surface, one EVA, and no deployment of the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP), an automated geophysical laboratory or ground station; and (3) maximum stay—with four EVAs, each lasting up to three hours.

During discussion of these three options, ASPO made it known that it favored the limited stay mission for the first landing. Thomas Stafford, repre­senting the astronaut office, pointed out that on the Mercury and Gemini flights it was only after the fourth flight that the spacecraft became really operational, and he expected the same for the LM. He mentioned that LM propellant leaks might restrict the surface staytime and said he thought this situation would improve as LM production continued. He also was concerned that with all the other high priority training they would need, the crew for the G mission would have a hard time completing the required training to carry out a multi-EVA mission. For these reasons he also supported the limited stay as the best that could be accomplished on the first landing. A few days later, at the MSC directors’ briefing, the limited stay mission was endorsed with one modi­fication; ALSEP deployment would not be deleted. Thus, some two years from the date the first landing would be scheduled, we saw that planning for man’s first lunar landing would continue to follow a conservative mission profile. A small victory at the time, ALSEP would still be a part of the science payload.

Soon after this decision was announced, the MSC Crew Systems Division began regular monthly meetings to review and highlight any new problems that could affect the astronauts’ EVAs. This new group was named the Lunar Surface Operations Planning Committee and was chaired by Raymond Zedekar. The meetings were well attended by the various MSC offices that had a finger in any of the EVAs. We had established a good working relationship with Ray, so our office was invited to attend as well as staff from Bellcomm and USGS.18 These meetings covered a wide range of topics, including the latest results of space suit simulations and their implications for the astronauts’ ability to perform certain types of surface tasks, and we reviewed all other EVA concerns such as PLSS power budgets, tool design, and sampling procedures. These meetings con­tinued through 1968 and were later replaced by another planning process.

As 1967 was winding down and we were assimilating the advice we received at Santa Cruz, the last major organizational change involving Apollo science was made at NASA headquarters. Still wearing my two hats but officially as­signed to the Advanced Manned Missions Program Manned Lunar Missions office, in early December I was moved to a staff position in anticipation of a new assignment.19 By the end of the month, Mueller established the Apollo Lunar Exploration Office, reporting to Sam Phillips, and put Lee Scherer in charge.20 Lee had just finished tying up the loose ends from the Lunar Orbiter program, and this appointment gave him a chance to expand his management role. His new office combined the responsibilities of Foster’s office and some of the post – Apollo lunar exploration duties of Advanced Manned Missions. He inherited most of Foster’s staff as well as other headquarters staff who had become involved in lunar science, including William ‘‘O. B.’’ O’Bryant and Richard Green. They had been managing the development of the Apollo geophysical station (ALSEP) in the Office of Space Science and Applications. As part of the agreement to establish this new office, OSSA continued to fund the lunar programs it had started through the end of FY 1969. O’Bryant was named assistant director for flight systems and continued to be in charge of ALSEP. Noel Hinners and his growing Bellcomm group also switched hats and sup­ported our new office. Will Foster was given a staff position within OSSA to oversee Apollo experiment selection.

Scherer’s appointment was a management masterstroke by Mueller. He was well liked and trusted by John Naugle (who had replaced Homer Newell just three months earlier) and by the science side of NASA, having managed the highly successful Lunar Orbiter program. The close connection of Lunar Orbi- ter to Apollo made him well known to OMSF management. After our initial meeting in 1963, I got to know him well from working with his NASA and contractor team during Lunar Orbiter site selection meetings. Perhaps it was his navy connection and my familiarity with the navy way of doing business, but with his appointment I expected to see more progress in all aspects of Apollo science. Lee would have much greater influence on the decision makers than Will Foster did. Being on Phillips’s staff put him directly in the chain of command—no more half OSSA and half OMSF, with both offices never sure whose side you were on. We were all now, clearly, part of the Apollo team. Most of the senior NASA managers on Apollo were either active-duty or retired military officers, so Lee fit right in. With my new office colleagues I had a change of address and moved into the Apollo offices at the just completed L’Enfant Plaza complex, where we remained until the last mission came home. I was given a new title in Scherer’s office—program manager, plans and objec­tives. My new responsibilities involved me in all aspects of Apollo science; most important was the planning for what would come after the first few flights.

The Apollo program was overseen by several special committees; perhaps the most prestigious was OMSF’s Scientific and Technology Advisory Commit­tee (STAC). Its membership comprised distinguished scientists and engineers. Chaired by Charles H. Townes from the University of California, Berkeley, it was increasingly important as Apollo neared its first launch. It met quarterly with Mueller and other senior NASA management to review all aspects of the program. At the beginning of April 1968, Townes wrote to Jim Webb expressing the committee’s satisfaction with the program’s status and also its concerns.21 He stated that after spending seven days reviewing various steps in the mission, the committee believed that ‘‘NASA personnel involved in this effort are mas­tering well a very demanding and difficult, as well as an exciting, assignment.’’ He wrote, however, that ‘‘it did not appear that efforts toward working out operational procedures for activities on the moon and coordinating the astro­nauts’ abilities and restrictions with optimum scientific experimentation had yet made comparable progress.’’ And in referring to the NASA budget reduc­tions, Townes closed with, ‘‘We believe it would be poor economy indeed for the nation to jeopardize the chances of a ringing success for the entire effort by undue paring down of support during the last stages which are ahead.’’ STAC’s concerns echoed those being expressed by our new office, and I believe they went a long way toward elevating Lee Scherer’s influence with Apollo manage­ment in the months leading up to the first landing.

At the beginning of 1968 our office prepared to update the 1965 ‘‘Lunar Exploration Plan.’’ A Bellcomm technical memorandum written in January also addressed long-range lunar exploration planning.22 It was distributed widely inside and outside NASA with the purpose of justifying a continuing program of exploration after the Apollo landings and rebutting the recently announced reduction in FY 1969 funding that would discontinue missions after Apollo 20.

The memo outlined a program based on the Bellcomm authors’ judgment of the scientific results that would be achieved by exploring specific sites using lunar orbital surveys and on our AAP concept of using a rendezvous between an extended lunar module and an unmanned LM payload module to permit longer staytimes and greater payloads. Except for listing the landing sites they thought were most important and giving their rationale for choosing them, their memo did not propose any major changes in previously circulated inter­nal documents describing AAP plans. The memo placed Bellcomm manage­ment squarely on our side in support of dual-launch missions. Until this time it had only gingerly endorsed the approach we had been advocating for several years in the Advanced Manned Missions office.

At the time the Bellcomm memo was circulating, a senior NASA manage­ment team called the Planning Steering Group was put in place to furnish an overall NASA stamp of approval for the agency’s long-range space exploration plans. In April 1968 Scherer established a Lunar Exploration Working Group to reexamine the situation and recommend a long-range exploration program to the PSG. He hoped to influence the NASA FY 1970 budget proposal and perhaps change the administration’s mind about what needed to be done after the initial landings. The Lunar Exploration Working Group included members from MSC, MSFC, Langley Research Center, JPL, and Goddard Space Flight Center in addition to headquarters. John Hodge of MSC was appointed direc­tor of the effort. We met frequently during the spring and summer of 1968. George Esenwein, Martin Molloy (detailed from JPL), and I took the lead for Scherer’s office. We had many differences of opinion with the MSC representa­tives on the working group concerning what should constitute a long-range lunar exploration plan, especially in regard to using dual launches to extend staytime and permit greater science payloads.23 But eventually, reinforced by the recommendations of the Santa Cruz summer conference and by the Bell – comm report, we prevailed and shaped a program similar to the one we had proposed earlier for AAP.

In October 1968 we distributed a Program Memorandum for Lunar Explo­ration.24 With funding constraints uppermost in our minds, we tried to throw the ball back to the Bureau of the Budget by quoting from and answering an earlier BOB inquiry: ‘‘What program should be undertaken for lunar explora­tion after the first manned lunar landing?’’ Our memorandum outlined such a program, and to give it additional clout, we also quoted from a 1963 President’s Science Advisory Committee (PSAC) report and the 1965 study by the National Academy of Sciences. Both had made strong statements that continued lunar exploration was essential to unraveling important scientific questions. This memorandum, like the 1965 plan, proposed an exploration program that would extend beyond 1975. It included manned and automated missions, dual launches, and even new hardware systems. The guidance we had received from BOB for our FY 1970 submittal was that NASA should pause after the first few landings and wait some unspecified time before continuing lunar exploration. (Typically BOB issued guidance each spring for drawing up each agency’s bud­get for the next year. This guidance included the language and dollar targets it expected the agencies to adhere to when they submitted their budget requests to the administration later in the year.) Between 1963, when we quoted PSAC’s opinions on the importance of exploring the Moon, and 1967 a major shift had occurred. PSAC’s new view was that “repetition of Apollo flights for more than two or three missions will be unjustifiable in terms of scientific return without the modification of the system to provide for additional mobility. . . . and the capacity to remain on the surface for a longer period of time.’’ We could not have agreed more. Unfortunately, without a budget increase, what PSAC was suggesting couldn’t be done.

The final pages of our memorandum addressed these issues. We rejected the option of pausing, for several reasons, and proposed that either we continue without modifying the Apollo hardware, in order to maintain momentum, or start to modify the basic systems to improve the astronauts’ mobility and extend staytime. If either of these last two options was accepted, we would need additional funding in FY 1970. BOB rejected our request for more funds but eventually permitted NASA management to juggle the approved budget and make the changes that resulted in the J missions to be discussed in following chapters.

At the end of the Santa Cruz conference, in the summer of 1967, Bill Hess established an interdisciplinary Group for Lunar Exploration Planning. Its objective was to integrate the science planning for each mission and offer an overall strategy to ensure that the missions complemented each other for the maximum scientific return. With the AAP missions at least on hold, GLEP focused on coordinating the planning for the Apollo missions. Planning cen­tered mainly on selecting landing sites. Each site’s unique characteristics would dictate the experiments to be carried out and how the geological surveys would be conducted.

To do the staff work in support of GLEP, a small group of scientists and engineers that we dubbed the ‘‘rump GLEP’’ met to put all the pieces together for presentation to GLEP. The rump GLEP initially included (besides me) Hal Masursky and Don Wilhelms from USGS; John Dietrich and John ‘‘Jack’’ Sevier from MSC, joined at times by Jack Schmitt; several scientists from outside NASA, including Paul Gast and Eugene Simmons; and two Bellcomm staffers, Farouk El Baz and Noel Hinners, the latter chairing the meetings. For the next two years we met regularly to plan each of the upcoming flights, updating our recommendations as more and more information became available. We were not the only ones trying to identify landing sites; many others at MSC and Bellcomm besides those mentioned above were also putting in suggestions. But because of our diverse backgrounds and intimate knowledge of mission con­straints, we felt we were the only team working on candidate sites that had the big science and operational picture in mind.

The site selection process involved making recommendations to GLEP ac­companied by supporting arguments. Based on this work, lists periodically went to GLEP adding or subtracting sites as advocates made the case for one site or another. GLEP, in turn, would make recommendations to ASSB, the final arbiter in site selection. Work on selecting landing sites became more intensive as the launch dates drew nearer. The few sites finally chosen would represent the coming together of many interests, both scientific and engineering. If someone held a strong position or theory on some aspect of lunar science, you would hear arguments for sites that held the most promise of vindicating that posi­tion. Site politics could rear its head at times; but fortunately consensus pre­vailed, though for several landings we chased the ephemeral ‘‘recent volcanics’’ advocated by a small USGS clique and others. Many people spent long hours reviewing the Lunar Orbiter photographs and other information to arrive at the recommended sites. As Noel Hinners’s staff gained strength with the addi­tion of James Head and others, they worked closely with USGS in Menlo Park and Flagstaff and took the lead in providing site rationale for GLEP. The impor­tance of selecting the right sites could not be overestimated: they would shape and control our understanding of the Moon for many years to come.

For the first landings, Lunar Orbiter photography, supplemented by USGS 1:1,000,000 scale lunar quadrangle geologic maps made from telescopic studies, were the key sources we used to develop a list of recommended landing sites. Lunar Orbiter coverage was designed to supply the following products for the initial landing sites: a series of photographs with three-foot ground resolution; detection of obstructions eighteen inches high; stereo coverage for detection of slopes of seven degrees or greater; approach path coverage of the last twenty miles of the LM approach to the landing site; and oblique views to approximate what the LM pilot would see as he approached the landing site. We selected thirty-two sites in the ‘‘Apollo zone’’ that met these specifications, and they were designated set A. We then turned these sites over to the Mapping Sciences Branch at MSC for final ‘‘landability’’ analysis.25

From set A, eight sites (set B) were selected that incorporated all the landing site considerations, including proper lighting and separation to allow three launch attempts, two days apart, in case of launch-pad holds. This last con­straint was imposed to avoid costly detanking (removing the propellants), and rechecks of all the Apollo systems if the launch to a selected site was missed for any of several possible reasons. If no secondary or tertiary landing sites were available, a launch abort would require a month’s delay to arrange lighting at the initial site for avoiding obstacles. For the first landing attempt, set B was further refined to a five-site set C that included Tranquility Base, Apollo 11’s final destination. Apollo 12’s site, near Surveyor 3, was included in set B.

In March 1968 President Johnson announced the formation of the Lunar Science Institute (LSI). The National Academy of Sciences had pushed such an institute to offset the continuing perception by many in the scientific commu­nity that NASA was not paying enough attention to science on Apollo. The site selected was a renovated mansion belonging to Rice University, just outside the MSC fence. William W. Rubey, one of the renowned scientists who had volun­teered time to work with the astronauts during their early training, was ap­pointed the first director. Still on the faculty at the University of California at the time of his appointment, he was a popular choice and gave the institute instant credibility.

At headquarters we supported the need for the institute but were not keen on the location. We felt that MSC’s proximity and reputation might discourage scientists from taking advantage of the institute’s mission to provide a base from which to work on the material and data the Apollo flights would return. Other purposes, such as attracting graduate students and scientists on sabbati­cals and hosting conferences and seminars, might also suffer because of the climate of distrust that existed. These fears went away in the ensuing years as LSI (later named the Lunar and Planetary Institute) ably performed its func­tions and remained independent of MSC.

Although LSI was chartered by the National Academy of Sciences and its board of governors was appointed by the Academy, most of the funding came from the Apollo program.26 Eventually LSI outgrew its initial home and moved to more spacious quarters at Clear Lake, where it continues to be a focal point for the study of Apollo material as well as information returned from later lunar and planetary programs.

Developing the Geological Equipment,. Related Experiments, and Sampling Protocols

Methods of conducting geological field studies have changed little in the past two hundred years. The geologist visits the locale to be studied, samples rocks, measures structural features like hills, valleys, cliffs, and other surface topogra­phy, traces formation boundaries (if possible), determines the relative ages of these various features, usually by several techniques, then interprets this infor­mation and finally makes a map. Aerial and satellite photos, as well as new surveying instruments and global positioning systems, now simplify and speed up the fieldwork, but all these steps are still necessary to produce a final map. In many cases geophysical data can help in making subsurface interpretations, but the overall job remains the same: sample, measure, interpret. Depending on the geological complexity of the site and the geologist’s skills, this can be a time­consuming endeavor. Some sites have been studied for years by the same or different geologists, slowly yielding an interpretation that most workers will agree with.

Lunar geological fieldwork would present the same challenges that faced a terrestrial geologist plus many more. For example, at the beginning of Project Apollo it was not clear how easily astronauts could sample and measure lunar features; above all, in spite of the many hours spent in geology training, it was questionable how skilled they would be at deciding how and where to sample and take measurements. Each Apollo landing site would represent a one-shot opportunity to collect as much information as possible—there would probably be no return to resample or remeasure—so it had to be done right. This de­mand haunted the new breed of ‘‘lunar geologists”: they had to complete the job the first time. That very little hard data would be in hand until the Apollo landings took place (Ranger, Surveyor, Lunar Orbiter, and ground-based obser­vations notwithstanding) added enormous complications for those of us at­tempting to prepare the equipment that would be taken on each mission and to plan the exploration strategy.

In February 1964 Will Foster sent a set of recommended Apollo investiga­tions and investigators to the Space Science Steering Committee (SSSC),1 the group Homer Newell had charged with advising him about what science to conduct on all space programs. In his memo Foster listed five areas of Apollo investigations—geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biology, and lunar atmo­sphere—and named scientists who should be on the investigating teams. As expected, the recommended geology fieldwork team was headed by Gene Shoe­maker. It included Hoover Mackin from the University of Texas, Aaron Waters from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Edward Goddard from the University of Michigan. The geochemistry planning panel included James Arnold from the University of California, San Diego, Paul Gast, then at the University of Minnesota, Brian Mason from the American Museum of National History, and several other noted geochemists. Related to the geochemistry panel was the petrography and mineralogy team composed of Harry Hess of Princeton, Clifford Frondel of Harvard, Bill Pecora and Ed Chao of the United States Geological Survey, and Edward Cameron of the University of Wisconsin.

Shoemaker’s Field Geology Team was responsible for planning the lunar fieldwork, determining the requirements for maps and tools, monitoring the astronauts’ training and their activities once they reached the Moon, and pre­paring the necessary reports. Working with the geochemistry planning panel and the petrography and mineralogy team, the Field Geology Team would plan sample collecting procedures and design sampling equipment that would sat­isfy the needs of future sample-analysis PIs. For samples that would be returned to Earth, the geochemistry planning panel and the petrography and mineralogy team would recommend the protocols for sample preparation. Finally, the geochemistry planning panel was asked to recommend to Foster’s office par­ticular investigations and investigators for studying the samples. These teams and panels were subsequently approved by the SSSC and began their work.

Before Shoemaker’s appointment, two conflicting concepts for field geology instrumentation were under development, one designed by the staff at the Manned Spacecraft Center and the other by USGS in Flagstaff. MSC, led by Uel Clanton, had devised an engineering model of an all-in-one geological tool that the astronauts could use for sampling, drilling, and several other functions, in an attempt to simplify the many tasks they would have to accomplish and at the same time save weight and time by reducing the number of tools needed.

USGS had similar concerns but thought the biggest problem would be locating and documenting the sites visited, and in particular sampled, so that accurate traverse maps and profiles could be reconstructed back on Earth. The Flagstaff team had devised a surveying staff that would reflect a laser beam from a ranging device and automatically record the coordinates of a position on the lunar surface. This approach was based on the simulations and exercises we had been conducting for the post-Apollo missions, which suggested that without some type of surveying instrument it would be almost impossible for an astro­naut to accurately locate his position on the Moon and associate a sample or ob­servation with a specific point. Lunar geologic maps made without such posi­tioning would be seriously degraded in value, since to establish map locations we would have to depend on some type of dead reckoning or coarse Earth­tracking and reconstruction of the traverse based on voice communication.2

Our experience during the Martin Marietta contract, and the growing con­cern about measuring distances on the lunar surface, led the Branch of Astro – geology to further explore including a periscope in the lunar module (LM), as we had proposed earlier, rather than the sextant that was being planned for navigation. In February 1965 Gordon Swann and Dave Dodgen visited two navy periscope suppliers, Kollmorgan and Kollsman Instruments, to discuss their ideas. Besides the concerns arising from the Martin contract, they wanted to be able to track an astronaut if only one was allowed to leave the LM. Though both companies thought the Apollo navigation requirements and the surveying ability needed on the Moon’s surface could be incorporated in one instrument,3 no official action was taken. A jury-rigged optical ranging periscope built by David Dodgen and Walt Fahey was used during some field simulations to assess the value of such an instrument.

These three pieces of equipment had their advocates and their detractors. At the end of 1965 the MSC engineering model was tested by a joint review team composed of members of Foster’s office and several MSC offices, including representatives from the astronaut office, and we agreed to stop work on this tool. Because of its several functions, it was large and cumbersome, with so many batteries, handles, switches, and other components that it looked like a Rube Goldberg contraption. The USGS surveying staff survived our initial evaluations. In spite of the advertised versatility of these tools, the astro­nauts would still need additional equipment for tasks that the all-in-one de­signs could not perform. Converting the LM sextant to a periscope was also finally abandoned because of the added cost and schedule delay entailed by modifying the LM navigation system. For the last three missions, a navigation system on the astronauts’ lunar rover met most of the tracking and mapping requirements.

As we began to design and build prototype tools, another complication arose: certain materials and designs might interact dangerously with the space­craft’s atmosphere, communications, or even the astronauts’ space suits. These restrictions, some certainly necessary, would be a bone of contention through­out the equipment development phase, adding trouble and expense to what could have been, in some cases, rather straightforward procurements.

Without question, the most important task the astronauts would perform on the lunar surface would be sample collection. There was much debate on how best to do this. How much sample? What types of samples? How should they be packaged for the trip home? How badly would the lunar surface, and in turn the samples, be contaminated by the effluents from the LM descent engine plume? These questions and many more faced us as we began to realize that a lunar landing was not far off. The danger of contaminating the Earth was being addressed, but designing the sample containers to minimize this concern still lay in the future. Answers to all these questions would affect the design not only of the sample containers but also of the collecting tools.

To start answering the sampling questions, the Office of Space Science and Applications asked USGS to detail to NASA a person with experience in sample collection and analysis. Ed Chao was the first to arrive, soon followed by Verl Richard Wilmarth, a senior USGS manager. Dick arrived at NASA in early 1964, and I first met him soon afterward in his new office in federal office building 6. NASA shared FOB-6 at that time with other government agencies, and though it was older than FOB-10, where my office was, the building was more luxurious; wider corridors, bigger elevators, a fancier cafeteria, and the other trappings of power so important in Washington. The NASA administra­tor and senior staff had offices in this building as well as OSSA, the General Council, Legislative Affairs, Public Affairs, and several other NASA depart­ments. The top floors had been taken over by NASA, and some offices afforded a wonderful view of the city. The administrator’s office faced west toward the

White House, and Legislative Affairs looked east toward Capitol Hill—perhaps by some logic, though probably just by chance.

Although he was an experienced manager, Wilmarth had never had an assignment quite like this: soliciting the scientists of the world to bid for a piece of the returned lunar samples and perhaps a chance to win a Nobel Prize—a once in a lifetime opportunity. I told Dick about my experience in developing this type of solicitation, officially called an announcement of flight oppor­tunities (AFO), as well as my background in writing government requests for proposals (RFPs) that had been released from NASA headquarters. Lacking this experience, especially with the quirks of NASA procurements, he asked me to assist him in his new job.

For the next several months Dick wrestled with his task, and I spent a significant part of my time helping him. Many meetings and consultations with interested parties were needed to be sure we were not overlooking some large or small detail. The AFO had to ask for information covering several areas, in a form that would let a blue-ribbon panel, still to be identified, select the most qualified proposals. What was the objective of the analysis? How much sample was needed? Would the analysis involve destructive or nondestructive testing? What were the packaging requirements? What type of equipment would be used? Would there be collaborators in addition to the principal investigator (PI), and who would they be? How much funding would be needed? How long would it take to do the analysis? Finally, after several months of labor, a draft of the AFO was ready to be circulated to senior management, and after review by both OSSA and the Office of Manned Space Flight, a final version was released at the end of 1964. The AFO asked that proposals be delivered to NASA by June 1965.

Before the sample proposals were received, Shoemaker’s Field Geology Team began developing concepts for tools that could collect a variety of lunar samples as well as take the measurements needed to conduct geological studies. These designs were based on both the Sonett Report and the Falmouth conference report, with the latter providing some specific recommendations: a long- handled trowel (really a small shovel); a rock hammer; sampling tubes to be hammered into the lunar soil to collect small subsurface samples; a hand-held magnifying glass; a combination scriber and brush to mark and clean the samples; and sample bags and special sample containers, one of them airtight. A camera was also recommended. We began to build prototypes of these tools at

MSC and at Flagstaff, believing that eventually, regardless of whatever unique requirements we ultimately received from the still to be selected sample PIs, all these tools would be needed.

With the possible exception of the airtight container, these early tool and sample container lists constituted the standard inventory that any field geologist would recognize, modified for their unique application. Everyone knew, for example, what a geologist’s hammer looked like. But some changes would be needed, since each tool would be used by a space-suited astronaut, perhaps under difficult lighting and temperature conditions, and in one-sixth gravity. We also had to factor in limited payload weight and stowage space, both on the trip to the Moon and returning. We knew that meeting all these constraints would require some compromises, clever design, and perhaps most important, careful input from the astronauts.

In September 1965, shortly after the Falmouth conference, Will Foster sent MSC a proposed second set of guidelines for Apollo science. In his memo he asked Robert Gilruth, MSC center director, and Max Faget to ‘‘prepare a Pro­gram Plan from which we can establish firm Program Guidelines to which all of us involved in this effort can work.’’4 Foster’s guidelines included discussions of sample return and lunar sample boxes, the Lunar Receiving Laboratory (LRL), the geophysical ground station, recently given the name Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP), and the geological hand tools and other equip­ment. He urged MSC to develop the guidelines as soon as possible, since we had little time to deliver the scientific equipment for the first missions.

While these guidelines were being developed we continued selecting the sample analysis PIs. After their proposals were received, Dick Wilmarth, Ed Chao, and Bob Bryson spent the next several months visiting the potential PIs and their labs to determine if they were equipped to conduct the analyses they proposed. Some were, some were not. As a result, OSSA began a program to upgrade the labs even though their proposals had not been officially approved. During the next five years, NASA transferred over $19 million to the sample PIs to purchase equipment and compensate them for their efforts.

As part of its responsibilities, the Field Geology Team began a careful review of the proposals by establishing a geology working group chaired by Shoe­maker. In addition to Shoemaker, the working group consisted of Goddard, Mackin, and Waters from the Field Geology Team, Harry Hess (from the Space Science Board), and Ted Foss and Jack Schmitt from MSC. I served as secretary.

We met over a period of nine months, and at the end of 1966 we sent our report to OSSA. We recommended that almost all the proposals submitted be ac­cepted, a total of forty-one.5 At Dick Wilmarth’s urging we also submitted a list of tests and experiments that should be conducted at the LRL, the equipment the lab should contain, and based on our ongoing studies, the types of con­tainers that should be carried on the missions to hold the different types of samples we expected would be collected.

With Walter Cunningham immersed in his duties with Gemini and Apollo, our astronaut contact for the development of science equipment became Don Lind. Don had been selected in April 1966 as one of the nineteen astronauts in the fifth selection group, less than a year after the first scientist-astronaut selec­tion. He had a Ph. D. in physics, and I had worked with him at Goddard Space Flight Center, where he was employed before his selection. He was an excellent choice to interact with the science community. Since he had also been a navy pilot and had a reputation at MSC as a meticulous worker, his opinions carried a lot of weight with the astronaut office. Jack Schmitt, as the only geologist – astronaut, would become closely involved in designing and developing the tools and experiments, but at this time he was just finishing his flight training.

Lind became our sounding board and made important contributions to Apollo science. He spent many hours trying each new design in a pressure suit, and along with Gordon Swann and other MSC and USGS staff he attempted to validate them in NASA’s converted Air Force KC-135 (nicknamed the ‘‘Vomit Comet’’ for the reaction of many test subjects during the flight parabolas spe­cially calculated to provide short periods of low or zero gravity). Ray Zedekar and others from the MSC Flight Crew Systems Division also worked tirelessly to test and improve the tools.

Simulations continued at Flagstaff through 1966 and 1967, prompting con­siderable refinement in the number and design of the hand tools the Field Geology Team would recommend. Astronaut mobility, dexterity, and visibility in the pressure suit were ultimately the major considerations and led to several unique tools not carried by geologists on Earth. In February 1967 a critical design review (CDR) of the Apollo lunar hand tools was held at MSC.6 Because several of the proposed hand tools were not ready for the review, it was decided to designate a ‘‘hand tool pool.’’ From the pool, a total of about twenty pounds of equipment could be selected for each mission, tailored to the mission’s specific needs. A tentative priority list was established: tool carrier, sample bags (100-200), maps, tongs, hammer, scoop, drive tube number 1, extension han­dle (used with several tools to eliminate bending over), gnomon, drive tube number 2, surveying staff (later dropped from the pool), color chart, drive tube number 3, sample bag dispenser and sealer, aseptic sampler, spring scale, and combination brush/scriber/hand lens.

The tool carrier, a three-legged stand, allowed the astronauts to carry their tools from station to station with one hand and then reach them without stooping. It was used on only two missions, Apollos 12 and 14. A second design carried on the J missions held the tools so that they could be mounted on the rear of the lunar rover.

The gnomon, a unique device, was devised by USGS to be placed in the field of view of the cameras the astronauts used on the lunar surface. It provided geometric and photometric control so that the photographs could be used to make analytical measurements. It consisted of a tripod about fourteen inches high supporting a gimbaled, weighted rod that would hang vertically. The shadow cast by the rod (hence gnomon) showed the direction the camera was pointed so that the astronaut need not estimate it and transmit it by voice. A gray scale on the rod was used for photometric calibration of the black- and-white photos, and a color chart on one leg helped us calibrate the color photos. With all this data available, we were eventually able to make stereo pairs from the photos and produce contour maps of the areas where the photos were taken.

The spring scale would weigh the rock boxes and individual sample bags brought back to Earth. These weights were important to the engineers doing trajectory analysis during the astronauts’ return journey. Those who saw the movie Apollo 13 may remember that Mission Control in Houston could not understand why the returning spacecraft did not respond as expected to the course corrections being made to bring the astronauts back within the narrow corridor in space required for a safe reentry. The combined LM and command module (CM) weights were accurately known, so they should have responded predictably to the small thruster burns. Finally someone remembered that the computer programs had been calculated allowing for a few hundred pounds of returned lunar samples. No samples were on board, since the astronauts had never landed on the Moon. When this figure was corrected and the proper weight inserted into the programs, the returning spacecraft was steered pre­

cisely into the Earth’s atmosphere, allowing the command module to make a safe landing.

At this CDR, concerns again surfaced about the materials used in the tools. One dealt with the magnetometer experiment that would be deployed with the ALSEP and stowed near the tools on the LM. Stainless steel (the preferred material for the hammer and drive tubes, for example) might induce too much remnant magnetism, thus affecting the accuracy of its readings. Another con­cern was how hot or cold the tools would become in full sunlight or shadow, since the gloves used for extravehicular activity (EVA) could tolerate tempera­tures only in the range of —250°F to 175°F. It was decided that the tools would be anodized or given a gold tone to moderate temperatures on the surfaces the astronauts would touch.

Also at this CDR the surveying staff received a careful reexamination. To take full advantage of its capabilities the astronauts would have to make twelve settings at each station, taking a total of five to ten minutes. We were told the astronauts thought this was too long, and most of us agreed; their time on the lunar surface would be our most precious resource. The staff was eventually dropped from the pool. By the time the J missions flew, the ‘‘hand tool pool’’ was no longer required because the science payload was large enough to accom­modate all the needed tools, some of which were new to the J missions or had been redesigned by that time.

With this background, we can now turn to sampling. The geology training the astronauts endured had one primary focus: to instruct them on what sam­ples to collect and how to collect them. The training emphasized thorough verbal descriptions and proper photographic techniques to ensure good docu­mentation of the sampling site. Sampling for geological analysis on Earth has progressed to a fine art, using techniques to fit the problem under study. Proba­bly the greatest change in the past thirty years is the enormous amount of information we can now wring from a small sample (a few ounces or grams). Many of the types of analyses that let us extract this information from such small samples were in their infancy when we began planning for lunar sam­pling. But we knew that any samples brought back to Earth, no matter how small or large, would exponentially increase our knowledge of the Moon and its history. As we began to look closely at the issue and to assess the opportunities the Apollo landings would provide as well as their limitations, the sampling program became more and more sophisticated. This sophistication found its way into the types of samples wanted, the special tools needed to collect them, and the packaging or containment requirements.

Our first concern was the ‘‘grab sample’’ (later named contingency sample), one astronaut’s first order of business once he was on the lunar surface. Every­one agreed on the importance of collecting this sample in case the first EVA was curtailed, but there was little agreement on how much should be collected, how and where it would be collected, how it would be documented, what tool(s) would be used, how it would be packaged (at one point someone suggested using a spare urine bag), where it would be stowed in the LM and the command and service module (CSM), and on and on. We first thought this sample should be passed back to the astronaut in the LM to ensure that something would be returned regardless of the outcome of the landing. This operation would mean using a significant part of the first EVA time to collect the contingency sample. These concerns held not only for the first landing but for all subsequent land­ings as well. In September 1967, after a review of the preliminary timelines at MSC, I raised these issues with Mueller’s office, urging that they be addressed as soon as possible so we could proceed with tool and sample container design, which would in turn affect astronaut training and schedule development.7

Our next concern was the design of the large containers that would hold the samples on the return to Earth. They would have to be stowed in the LM on the outbound passage, then transferred to the CM for the return. Finding stowage space limited their size and weight and also their location relative to the space­craft’s center of gravity, since their weight would differ outbound and during landing maneuvers, during LM takeoff and on the CSM’s return from the Moon. Heavy aluminum boxes, called Apollo lunar sample return containers (ALSRCs), or ‘‘rock boxes,’’ were finally selected to satisfy these constraints.8 They were designed and manufactured by Union Carbide at the Atomic Energy Commission’s Y-12 plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Each box weighed thirteen pounds and had an inner volume of less than one cubic foot, with outside di­mensions of approximately 19 X 11 X 8 inches. They were designed to with­stand fifty gs and to maintain a vacuum seal in case of a hard landing in the ocean. Depending on the type of samples collected, each box could hold twenty to forty pounds of material. Two boxes would be carried on each mission, and after the samples were placed inside they could be sealed while on the lunar surface. The contract with Union Carbide called for the manufacture of twelve items of flight equipment and nine test containers. Two more flight containers were added later to the contract. When the boxes were opened at the LRL, high vacuums were always found, relieving some of the worry on the first three missions that alien organisms might have escaped into the Earth’s atmosphere.

For collecting the contingency sample, a special tool was made with a long handle and attached bag. After the bag was filled, the handle would be discon­nected and the bag placed in an astronaut’s pocket in case they had to make a quick departure (thus resolving the question of spending time to get it back into the LM). With this limitation, small contingency samples were collected on each mission, always close to the LM, without much regard for the location, and not always documented with a photograph. After the contingency sample was safely in the astronaut’s pocket, subsequent sampling became much more ex­acting. Depending on the mission and the prescribed timeline, further sam­pling might be postponed until later in the first and subsequent EVAs. This later sampling would be carefully planned to ensure that the landing site was covered as completely as possible within the radius of operations.

Another concern was what type of contamination would be introduced to the samples during landing by the LM descent stage engine exhaust. The ex­haust, plus the astronauts’ activities once they exited the LM, might introduce carbon compounds, making it hard to tell if any form of life existed on the Moon. In the summer of 1965 MSC gave Grumman (the LM manufacturer) and Arthur D. Little a small contract to study these questions. In November they briefed us on what they had determined.9 There would, of course, be some contamination, estimated to be as much as one ton of various compounds spread over the landing site if they were all absorbed on the lunar surface. But chemical reactions could be predicted based on educated guesses about the composition of lunar soil, and they thought the contaminant molecules intro­duced by the exhaust could be identified during analysis of the lunar samples back on Earth. This study satisfied some, but not everyone, that the problem was understood, in particular the question of contamination from the astro­nauts’ space suits.

Concern that the samples returned might harbor some unknown disease, and the opposite fear that the astronauts might contaminate the samples on the Moon, led to the development of a sampling device called the aseptic sampler. Its function was to retrieve a small sample from an area away from the landing site, where there would be a minimum chance that the exhaust from the LM descent engine would have introduced foreign material into the soil. The asep­tic sampler was also designed and built by Union Carbide at the Y-12 plant, to specifications dictated by the National Academy of Sciences report on back- contamination. Its design became rather complicated. An extension handle would place a small coring tube against the surface a few feet from the ‘‘dirty’’ astronaut in his pressure suit. Two extendable feet would be unfolded to steady the sampler, and the astronaut would then pull a wire to open the coring device and push it into the soil. Surrounding the lower part of the handle was a sterile plastic bag into which the small core tube would be retracted; then the bag would be sealed to avoid any contamination after collection. All these functions were designed to avoid any contact with the astronauts or their gloves, because back on Earth the sample would be studied to detect organic compounds at a level of a few parts per million.

Dick Green, the ALSEP engineer and an office colleague, recalls being pres­ent at the final aseptic sampler training rehearsal by the Apollo 11 astronauts. Sam Phillips was also there to witness the demonstration of another late addi­tion to the astronauts’ workload, a sore point with NASA management (which undoubtedly prompted Phillips’s attendance). As might be expected, the com­plicated device malfunctioned. Phillips made an instant management decision to remove it from the flight and said contamination concerns would have to be resolved by studying the other returned samples (they were).

For the Apollo 12 mission and subsequent ones, two new types of samples somewhat satisfied the requirements addressed by the aseptic sample: the spe­cial environmental sample and the gas analysis sample. But there was no at­tempt to isolate these samples as carefully as if the aseptic sampler had per­formed successfully. The special environmental sample was a small container, large enough to insert a drive tube; it was taken to the Moon tightly sealed to prevent any contamination during the outbound trip. Once a drive tube sample was retrieved on the lunar surface, the container would be opened, the tube inserted, and the container carefully resealed. The gas analysis sample was designed to obtain an uncontaminated sample of any constituents of the ten­uous lunar atmosphere. The container was vacuum sealed on Earth and opened only after the astronauts were on the lunar surface. It would remain open for one or more EVAs, have a small amount of soil added, then be resealed, in hopes of capturing a few atoms or molecules that might be present in the near vacuum on the Moon.

To accommodate the procedures called for by the Field Geology Team and other scientists, several types of sample bags were designed. They would be modified as we learned from the experience of the astronauts using them on the lunar surface and the teams handling the samples back on Earth. In addition to the small Teflon bag that held the contingency sample, three other types of Teflon bags were designed to hold samples designated selected sample, docu­mented sample, and tote bag sample.

The bags for the selected sample (which replaced the bulk sample collected on Apollo 11) could contain a large volume of sample and have enough space to store the core tubes plus the lunar environment and gas analysis samples. The smaller documented sample bags (seven and a half by eight inches) were carried on a twenty-bag dispenser and would be removed individually to hold samples documented by the astronauts’ description and photographs. Each bag was premarked with an identification number that would be relayed back to MSC as the bag was filled to obviate confusion when the sample was opened at the LRL. After the selected and documented sample bags were sealed, they were placed in the ALSRCs. The large tote bag would hold any large rocks the astronauts collected. This bag would not be placed in an ALSRC but would be separately stowed, first in the LM and then in the CM.

Cameras had been part of the astronauts’ equipment since the first Mercury flights. From Gemini flight GT-4 on, they were included in formal experiments. Some good science had resulted from the pictures of Earth taken during the Gemini flights, especially new views of important terrestrial features such as the Himalayas and impact craters never before photographed.10 Cameras would become an essential element in each Apollo mission to preserve what the astro­nauts saw on the lunar surface and in lunar orbit.

On the Moon, cameras were needed for three purposes: to document the individual samples collected; to provide detailed views of the areas where the astronauts were working as well as panoramic views; and to record the place­ment of the ALSEP central station and experiments and of any other experi­ments the astronauts deployed. The Hasselblad camera, which all the astronauts were used to and which was already qualified for space flight, was an immediate candidate for lunar surface photography. Other types of cameras would be added in the months ahead, but the Hasselblad soon became the top choice.

Shoemaker and his Field Geology Team also believed that stereoscopic pho­tographs were necessary to document samples and the general geological scene.

He enlisted Homer Newell, who agreed and wrote to George Mueller that they were ‘‘a necessity on every lunar landing mission.’’11 In the summer of 1966 the Manned Space Flight Experiments Board asked Shoemaker to develop the spec­ifications for a stereo camera. Preliminary work was carried out to develop such a camera, but it was eventually canceled because of payload weight and EVA time constraints. The astronauts were then trained to use the Hasselblads to take stereo pairs.

Integrating the cameras with the astronauts’ activities became a major chal­lenge. They had to be handy but not in the way. How would the astronauts carry, point, and trigger them in their space suits and clumsy gloves? After many trials and errors, the solution was to mount the cameras on the astro­nauts’ remote control unit, a fixture attached at chest level on the outside of the pressure suit. A dovetail bracket on the remote control unit allowed the astro­nauts to slip the cameras on or off with some ease. Test subjects and the astronauts soon became adept at pointing the cameras and compensating for the parallax caused by the camera’s being below their line of sight. Camera controls were modified to be used with gloves. Once this camera was accepted, most of the simulations and training sessions included the Hasselblads, to determine how best to document the projected lunar surface activities and to get the astronauts used to them.

The camera inventory carried in the LM for use on the lunar surface was extensive. One television camera, three 70 mm Hasselblads (two with 60 mm lenses and one with a 500 mm lens), one 16 mm Mauer sequence camera mounted in the LM pilot’s window (to photograph the landing, initial surface activities at the foot of the LM ladder, and rendezvous maneuvers with the CSM in lunar orbit; it was used in later missions on the lunar surface), and about twenty-five film magazines of various types. A seventh camera, the Apollo lunar surface close-up camera (ALSCC), was one of the late additions to the science equipment.

The ALSCC was Tommy Gold’s last attempt to reap some fame from the lunar landings. Still obsessed with the nature of the fine material that con­stituted the lunar soil, he proposed a special camera to take close-up ster­eoscopic photographs of it. He submitted a proposal in 1968, and after some debate on its merits, the SSSC finally agreed to carry his camera. Shoemaker and the Field Geology Team were incensed at this decision, believing it had little scientific merit and, most important, would take time on Apollo 11 and the next missions from the much more important geological tasks and the sampling. Our office supported Shoemaker’s reasoning. We also knew that we would be assigned to oversee the rapid development of the camera while dealing with a potentially difficult PI. We were overruled, and the camera development went forward.

Gold’s photographic objectives required a complicated design for an entirely new type of camera. He wanted the camera’s focal plane to be very short, in lieu of magnifying lenses, so that particles of 0.1 mm or even smaller could be distinguished and measured; achieving this called for taking stereoscopic pairs with the camera close to the lunar surface. Since the astronauts could not bend low enough to set a camera on the surface and operate it, the camera would have to be attached to a long handle. With the camera essentially in direct contact with the surface, a light source would also have to be provided to flash for each stereo pair. On and on went the design requirements for this strange contraption that few favored, including the astronauts, who were vocal in their objections to using it. So much for the politics of science—Tommy had friends in high places.

To add to the complications, when the NASA Procurement Office learned of our plans to get bids to design and build the camera they insisted it be made a ‘‘small business’’ contract. The government’s policy of giving contracts to small businesses deserves support, and my government career after I left NASA de­pended on small business for its success, but this was a bad decision that we knew would give us trouble. Schedules were tight, and the camera’s design would require some clever engineering. We scrambled around and finally lo­cated a company (its name escapes me), and MSC awarded a contract. Robert Jones at MSC was named program manager. After several months of monitor­ing the company’s progress, it became clear that it would be unable to deliver the camera on schedule, if ever.

Now we were in real trouble, since the camera was scheduled to be carried on the first landing mission and we had lost almost six months. But because of the tight schedule, in January 1969 we were able to justify awarding a sole-source contract to the most qualified supplier, Eastman Kodak. Kodak worked literally around the clock and delivered the flight hardware and training cameras on schedule to meet the Apollo 11 launch date. Gold’s camera performed almost flawlessly, thanks to the Kodak engineers, and it was also carried on Apollo 12 and Apollo 14. Although it was not a favorite experiment for the astronauts—a few threatened to throw the camera away—they complied with most of his requests for his unusual photographic subjects and returned forty-nine and a half stereo pairs.

How much new science resulted from analysis of the photographs is debat­able. Gold tried to use them to advance some of his pet theories, and David Carrier, an MSC engineer who had provided oversight on the soil mechanics experiment, reminded me that when he and several other MSC staffers cooper­ated with Gold in writing his report for Apollo 14 they withdrew their names as coauthors because they disagreed with some of his conclusions.

When more weight became available on the J missions, the tool inventory remained essentially the same except that we added a rake, suggested by Lee Silver after the Apollo 12 mission when the astronauts found it difficult to pick up small rocks and collect samples mixed with the lunar soil. We reasoned that such samples would yield a wide variety of lunar rocks, since every landing site might contain ejecta from many distant sources. The rake was designed as a scoop, closed at one end, with wire tines spaced about a quarter inch apart to sift out the loose material but retain the larger pieces. It was used successfully on all three J missions.

We added another important piece of equipment for the J missions, the Apollo lunar surface drill. Two requirements led to its development: the ALSEP heat flow experiment, which needed two holes for inserting the sensors, and the geologists’ and geophysicists’ desire to obtain subsurface samples. Here once again the experience gained in studying a deep drill for the post-Apollo mis­sions was valuable. Jack Hanley, detailed to my office from USGS, had moni­tored the hundred-foot-drill studies at Marshall Space Flight Center, and he was assigned to oversee the drill. The RFP released by MSC called for bids to build a drill that would extract cores to a depth of one hundred inches. The competi­tion was won by Martin Marietta, Denver, teamed with Black and Decker.

The design the Martin Marietta team selected was a battery-powered rotary percussive drill in which the power head imparted short impacts at the same time as the drill pipe (core stem) rotated. The astronaut could also lean on the drill handle to add force and improve the penetration rate. The core stems (a total of six that would be screwed together during the drilling) were fluted on the outside, as in the hundred-foot drill studied by Westinghouse several years earlier, to carry the cuttings or soil to the surface as the drill penetrated into the subsurface. Each core stem, made of fiberglass tubular sections reinforced with boron filaments, was about sixteen inches long. As each one penetrated to its full length, the drill head would be disconnected and another core stem screwed on to continue drilling. A tripod device held the extra sections above the ground until they were connected during the drilling. There was enough bat­tery power to drill three holes: two for the heat flow experiment and one for the core sample.

After five Surveyor spacecraft had landed on the Moon and returned pic­tures and rudimentary data on the characteristics of the lunar surface, many questions still remained about some of the engineering properties of the upper layers of the lunar surface. Since the Surveyor spacecraft had not disappeared in fluffy dust, we now knew that traveling on the lunar surface in some sort of wheeled vehicle would be possible. Using lunar soil to shield shelters while lunar bases were being built (as proposed in the Lunar Exploration System for Apollo studies) also appeared feasible, but more hard data were needed to understand how these soils could be excavated.

The need to predict the behavior of lunar soil, insofar as it would affect the design of vehicles and other equipment, as well as the need to collect other basic information, led to the inclusion of a soil mechanics investigation on the final four Apollo missions. This experiment, closely allied to the field geology stud­ies, consisted of analyzing the astronauts’ observations on the character of the soil as they moved about; photographing the soil after it was disturbed by their activities (e. g., boot prints, tire marks, and trenches), augmented by physical measurements made in situ with penetrometers and other devices; and finally, making measurements on the returned samples.

James Mitchell, from the University of California, Berkeley, was selected as the soil mechanics principal investigator. His team included as coinvestigators Nicholas Costes from MSFC, who had been on the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 Field Geology Team and had participated in some of our post-Apollo studies, and Dave Carrier from MSC. Don Senich, a former instructor at the Colorado School of Mines who was detailed to my office from the United States Army Corps of Engineers, was to oversee the development of this experiment from headquarters.

A simple penetrometer, consisting of a long aluminum shaft slightly less than half an inch in diameter, was carried for the first time on Apollo 14. It was to be pushed into the surface at several places near the LM to a maximum depth of sixty-eight centimeters. Black and white stripes were painted on the shaft,

and after pushing it as deep as possible each time, the astronaut would read back the number of stripes still above the surface as a measure of the depth achieved. Mitchell’s team would then calculate the forces involved by applying data obtained from terrestrial simulations. On the Apollo 15 and Apollo 16 missions a more sophisticated, self-recording penetrometer was carried. This device consisted of a base plate, a shaft with two different-sized interchangeable nose cones, and an upper housing containing the recorder. An extension handle above the recorder helped the astronauts force the nose cones into the surface. After pushing the penetrometer into the soil, they would remove the data drum from the recorder and return it for analysis.

Chapters 11 and 12 will tell more about how the equipment for the field geology experiment was used on the Moon by the crews of the six landing missions.

The Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. and Associated Experiments

By 1964 the growing fraternity of space and lunar scientists began to see the Apollo missions as an opportunity to address many age-old questions. These questions related not only to the Moon itself but to the Earth, the entire solar system, and to some degree the whole universe. The Moon would provide the equivalent of a spacecraft on which to conduct experiments never before possi­ble. The Sonett Report, along with advisory panels from the Office of Space Science and Applications, the Office of Manned Space Flight, and the National Academy of Sciences’ Space Science Board, guided us in soliciting experiments to be associated with a permanent science station such as we studied for post – Apollo missions under contract at Marshall Space Flight Center (these studies became the basis for the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package, or ALSEP, developed for Apollo missions). We also solicited additional experiments that could be conducted on the Moon’s surface independent of a geophysical ground station. At this time a few of the scientists who were thinking about experi­ments on the Moon were also considering how to conduct experiments in lunar orbit. Aside from Lunar Orbiter, however, there were no ‘‘approved’’ plans to provide a platform for lunar orbit experiments in the Apollo missions. I em­phasize ‘‘approved,’’ for though planning for such experiments was going on, no specific spacecraft had been designated to carry them. Experiments as well as cameras had been solicited for the Lunar Orbiter program, but the proposals were on the shelf until a program was approved.

Will Foster’s February 13, 1964, memorandum, in addition to recommend­ing a Field Geology Team that would help plan for sample collection, listed four geophysics teams, selected to recommend and design lunar seismic, magnetic, heat flow, and gravity experiments.1

The seismology experiment was divided into two parts, passive and active (each requiring different instrumentation), to monitor the Moon’s internal activity (moonquakes) and determine its shallow and deep structure. The team consisted of Frank Press, then at California Institute of Technology, and Mau­rice Ewing and George Sutton of Columbia University. The memo proposed additional investigators for the active experiment, but they were unnamed.

A third type of seismic experiment, engineering seismology, was also listed, to provide data that would be used for post-Apollo mission planning. Although considered a nonscientific experiment, it was designed to measure the Moon’s surface characteristics to a depth of fifty feet. For this team Foster suggested personnel from the Manned Spacecraft Center and the United States Geological Survey at Flagstaff, since USGS had begun to study the data needed for design­ing lunar bases and mobility devices under my office’s contract with Gene Shoemaker. The engineering seismology experiment was finally designated the active seismic experiment, and Robert Kovach at Stanford University became the principal investigator (PI), supported by coinvestigators Thomas Landers, also from Stanford, and Joel Watkins, who had moved from USGS at Flagstaff to the University of North Carolina. Kovach never selected anyone from MSC to join his team.

The magnetic measurements team consisted of James R. Balsley of Wesleyan University, Richard R. Doell from USGS, Norman Ness of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Chuck Sonett from NASA Ames Research Center, and Victor Vaquier from the University of California, San Diego. This team was to specify the magnetic measurements needed to determine the lunar magnetic field (if any) in the presence of solar and interplanetary magnetic fields and the methods for measuring any remnant magnetic field in lunar rocks. All previous attempts to measure a lunar magnetic field from a distance had failed to find any significant field; thus these measurements would be critical in unraveling the Moon’s early history.

The heat flow measurement team consisted of Francis Birch from Harvard, Sydney P. Clark from Yale, Arthur H. Lachenbruch of USGS, Mark Langseth from Columbia, and Richard Von Herzen from the University of California, San Diego. In addition to designing the heat flow instrumentation, the PI for this experiment would become closely involved with the design of the Apollo lunar drill, because the heat flow sensors would be lowered into two holes made by the drill.

The final team listed in the memo was to make gravity measurements. It consisted of Gordon MacDonald from the University of California, Los An­geles, and Joseph Weber from the University of Maryland. This experiment, it was hoped, would provide some of the more exotic measurements to be made on the Moon; not only would it measure the deformation of the Moon created by the pull of the Earth’s mass, but it might detect gravity waves, predicted by Einstein but never unequivocally measured. This experiment was truly unique to the Moon, since to have any hope of recording gravity waves the instrument, a sensitive gravimeter, had to be on an extremely quiet body, as many believed the Moon to be.

These teams, like the field geology, geochemistry, petrography, and miner­alogy teams, were also approved by the Space Science Steering Committee (SSSC). My purpose for listing the team members is twofold. First, it shows for the record that their members included many of the leading scientists of the day in the identified fields. Thus this obviated the need to make the usual formal solicitation to the scientific community as a whole, since it would undoubtedly have resulted in teams similar to those proposed. Some might take issue, but I believe that is true, since only a few leading scientists in these fields were considering lunar experiments. This procedure shortened the time it took to get the key players in place, probably by six months or more—not an insignificant consideration. Second, the makeup of the teams changed with time, especially the important position of PI for each experiment. This position, of course, was the key to future scientific fame, for the PI’s name would appear first in the final reports and citations.

Each team was to design and build its experiment through the prototype stage, training the astronauts in its use or deployment and, finally, reducing and reporting on the data returned. This opportunity was extremely important, because Apollo promised long-term data collection for experiments attached to the lunar ground station (one year or perhaps longer) and exciting data trans­mission (bandwidth) capability. Weight and power allowances were expected to be generous compared with a typical unmanned spacecraft experiment, and having an astronaut set up the experiment or return some or all of the data would add to the value. Some people in the unmanned science camp argued that using the astronauts for those types of experiments was an unnecessary complication, but in general their involvement was considered a real plus. Before this date in 1964 we had little experience deploying unmanned payloads either in space or on the Moon, and those that had been deployed were rela­tively unsophisticated. Using astronauts to set up or operate an experiment had only occasionally been factored into an experiment’s design for the Gemini program, so this would be a new challenge to the scientific community.

After SSSC approved Foster’s recommendations, contracts were negotiated with the team members, and OSSA began to fund and manage their efforts. As promised in Foster’s memo, other experiments and investigators were brought on board later to cover important areas of science not included in the initial teams. Experiments added during this time were the Solar Wind Spectrometer (SWS) to measure the solar plasma striking the lunar surface; the Suprathermal Ion Detector Experiment (SIDE), which could measure a variety of interactions with the solar wind and complement the SWS measurements; and the Cold Cathode Gauge (CCG) to measure the composition of the lunar atmosphere. These experiments would also be attached to the ground station for their power, housekeeping, and data transmission needs.

Another experiment that would operate independently of any ground sta­tion, the Solar Wind Composition experiment, was also approved for the first missions. It was proposed by a Swiss team headed by Johannes Geiss from the University of Bern. Its purpose was to collect and return solar wind ions, such as helium and neon, to help us understand the composition of the solar wind. This experiment was funded in part by the Swiss government.

With the initial suite of experiments and experimenters under contract, in early 1965 our efforts turned to the design and development of the station that would support the experiments. By this time the MSFC Emplaced Scientific Station (ESS) contractors, Bendix and Westinghouse, had progressed to a pre­liminary design of a geophysical station for post-Apollo missions. It had all the characteristics we wanted for an Apollo station; the major differences were in overall size, the ESS being larger than we could expect for the first Apollo landings.

On May 10, 1965, Foster sent Ernst Stuhlinger at MSFC a request to submit a work statement for an Apollo scientific station.2 At the same time he also asked Max Faget at MSC to submit a similar work statement. Much to our chagrin, George Mueller’s office, led by James Turnock and Leonard Reiffel, thought MSC should be the lead center in managing this complex payload. I was lobby­ing hard for MSFC and had convinced E. Z. Gray and Will Foster that, based on all the work MSFC had done for our post-Apollo mission studies, it was the best qualified. MSC had nowhere near as much experience with lunar science payloads, and it lacked qualified staff to oversee such a contract.

This controversy came to a head at a Saturday meeting with George Mueller, on May 24.3 (Remember the best day to get his undivided attention?) Also at the meeting (besides me) were Sam Phillips, Edgar Cortright (Mueller’s deputy), E. Z. Gray, Will Foster, Dick Allenby, Jim Turnock, Len Reiffel, Benjamin Milwitzky, and Jack Trombka. The major issue was deciding who would man­age the Apollo science station. We reviewed the two work statement proposals from MSC and MSFC and weighed the strengths and weaknesses of each. We described the problems we had working with MSC on matters dealing with science and the much better relationship we, and the scientists we had brought into the post-Apollo studies, had with MSFC.

After about two hours of discussing the pros and cons, the MSFC work statement was judged superior to MSC’s and likely to elicit the best proposals. I thought we had carried the day and that MSFC would be assigned this impor­tant task. But Phillips finally weighed in with his opinion—that in spite of its deficiencies MSC should become NASA’s ‘‘lunar expert.’’ Mueller agreed and also expressed his unwillingness to have Stuhlinger manage the Apollo science program. Why he was uncomfortable with Stuhlinger he never explained. He did agree that the MSFC work statement should be the basis of the request for proposals and asked that three companies be selected in the initial study to ensure some competition.

The anointing of MSC as our lunar expert was a devastating blow to many of us in attendance and presaged the at times bitter disagreements we and the PIs would have with the MSC managers in the years ahead. As a gesture to assuage our disappointment, Mueller asked us to prepare a history of our past year’s negotiations with MSC so that he could understand the situation. Perhaps Mueller’s review of our tales of past disagreements was a factor in the decision to transfer Bill Hess to MSC at the end of 1966 to lead the science activities there.

The MSFC’s Apollo work statement, based on the ESS study, in essence called for a junior ESS. Because extended periods of data collection were needed for many of the experiments selected, it was decided that the station would be powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator, the same power source proposed for the ESS. RTGs, already under development for planetary space­craft that would fly too far from the sun to collect sufficient solar energy, generate electric power through the decay of radioactive elements, in this case plutonium. This decay produces heat, which is in turn converted by thermo­couples to electric power. RTGs were an ideal power source for lunar-based experiments, because for fourteen consecutive Earth days of every day/night lunar month cycle, the station would be in darkness and very cold. Batteries alone could not do the job; they would be far too heavy to accommodate the required duty cycles. A solar-powered station would have required a large solar array, would be difficult to deploy on the lunar surface, and would still re­quire a large, heavy battery pack to sustain it during the fourteen-day lunar night. When the solar array and the batteries were studied, it became evident that RTGs provided not only a distinct savings in weight but also greater reliability and simplicity, because among their other advantages they have no moving parts.

The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), the agency responsible for oversee­ing the manufacture of RTGs, had several well-tested designs to choose from that could provide various amounts of power depending on how much weight one could allocate to the power source. The RTGs were manufactured by Gen­eral Electric’s Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, plant, with the plutonium supplied by the AEC. Safety considerations were the primary arguments against using an RTG. First was the question of how an astronaut could safely deploy the RTG. It would be ‘‘hot,’’ both in temperature and in radioactivity. Second was the chance of a mission abort in which the plutonium 238 fuel source might be released into the atmosphere. Plutonium is highly toxic if inhaled. AEC and General Electric believed they could solve both problems, and later ground handling tests and destructive tests exposing the system to high-energy impact and heat loads proved them correct.

The RTG power source (system for nuclear auxiliary power, SNAP) selected to provide power for a year or longer was designated SNAP-27. It consisted of a fuel capsule and generator. The fuel capsule would be carried to the Moon on the lunar module descent stage in a special graphite container, and after the as­tronauts removed it and inserted it in the generator, it would provide 63.5 watts of electrical power to the central station. With a fuel half-life of almost ninety years, it more than filled the need for a long-term power source.

(The RTG on the Apollo 13 mission, still attached to the LM lifeboat that sustained the astronauts during that harrowing, nearly fatal experience, reen­tered at a speed far beyond that anticipated for a typical Earth orbit failure, but it is believed to have survived intact, as designed. If the cask protecting the plutonium heat element had failed, the sensitive instruments on the aircraft sent to sample the air at the reentry point over the Pacific Ocean would have detected plutonium in the atmosphere.)

Once the power source had been decided, the next critical step was selecting a design for the communication and data relay subsystem. Commands would be transmitted from Earth to control the station and its experiments, and data would be relayed back from the lunar surface. NASA’s Manned Space Flight Network (later incorporated into the Space Tracking and Data Network) would provide round-the-clock monitoring, eliminating the need to provide data storage at the station as we had envisioned for some of the ESS experiments. Raw or processed data would then be given to the PIs for reduction and inter­pretation. A difficult question was, How much data should the station be capa­ble of handling? No matter how much was made available, PIs would always be hungry for more. Until specific instruments were designed, this would remain an open question. At the Falmouth conference, attended by some of the proba­ble experiment PIs, it was recommended that the station be designed to accept various types of experiments so that the instrument complement could be easily changed, depending on the landing site and the experiments required to answer site-specific questions. All in all, it would be a tough design challenge, but based on the work we had done for our post-Apollo studies, we felt con­fident it could be met.

In June, using the MSFC work statement as its model, MSC released the request for proposal (RFP) for the geophysical ground station that came to be known as the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. Max Faget’s Engi­neering and Development Directorate’s new Experiments Program Office was named MSC program manager, reporting to Robert Piland, recently appointed to head the office. Nine companies submitted proposals, and as Mueller had requested, three were selected to provide a preliminary design. In August, Bendix Systems Division, Space General Corporation, and the TRW Systems Group were each awarded a contract for $500,000. Each company would pro­vide a preliminary design and mock-ups, to be delivered to MSC and Grum­man at the end of the six months.4

The RFP requested that each design include a seismometer, heat flow sen­sors, magnetometer, a suite of atmospheric and radiation sensors, and a device to measure the micrometeorite flux at the lunar surface. (This last device,

proposed by MSC and rejected by the Planetology Subcommittee four months earlier as not relevant to lunar science, had found its way back into consider­ation. MSC used its position as NASA’s ‘‘lunar expert’’ to push one of its pet ideas.) The weight allowance for the entire package was not to exceed 150 pounds. After a review and evaluation of each contractor’s design and perfor­mance during the six months, we planned to select one contractor to provide the flight hardware.

After the mock-ups were delivered, we convened a selection committee to decide which of the three teams would build the flight hardware. Bendix had obviously profited from its part in our post-Apollo studies of the ESS. Its pre­liminary ALSEP design was judged the most responsive to our requirements, and a contract was awarded in March 1966. With an initial value of $17 million, the contract finally grew to $58 million through increases in the number of flight and test units required and the added job of building four ALSEP experi­ments for the PIs and integrating more experiments than originally projected.

The contract and its subsequent modifications called for the manufacture of six flight-qualified ALSEPs, a ‘‘dummy’’ unit to fly to the Moon in the storage bay of the Apollo 10 lunar module, prototype and qualification units, two training units, and one unit dubbed the ‘‘shop queen,’’ which was modified and cannibalized and was generally available to test ideas. Joseph Clayton, later promoted to division general manager, was the initial Bendix program manager and was succeeded by Chuck Weatherred at the time ALSEP progressed to the prototype phase. Chuck, who had been closely involved with many of our post – Apollo studies, then continued as program manager through the missions.

Some additional details now about ALSEP, the attached experiments, and the other experiments that were deployed at the landing sites but were not dependent on ALSEP for their operation. First the ALSEP central station. The central station was the control center for the many instruments that were so carefully crafted by the experiment teams, some designed to record sensitivity levels unachievable for similar Earth measurements. The central station data subsystem would receive and decode the uplink commands for each experi­ment and collect the scientific and housekeeping data and transmit them back to Earth. A small helical S-band antenna would be mounted on top of the station and pointed by the astronauts to provide the data link to Earth.

Most of the experimenters were interested in collecting data over a long period, in most cases the longer the better. The ALSEP design goal was to survive for a minimum of one year, providing power, housekeeping functions, data collection, and transmission. This was no mean task, given the extreme temperature fluctuations (over 500°F) experienced on the Moon every twenty- eight days. At the same time that instruments or devices would be experiencing these temperature changes, they and the central station would be operating in a high vacuum. Lacking the normal methods of regulating experiment tempera­tures on Earth, their design would have to include novel ways to both heat and cool all the components.

Keeping the experiments warm was not as hard as keeping them cool; heat could be supplied by small electrical heating elements of various designs. But since liquid coolants could not be used, radiators, thermal blankets, and shield­ing were employed, utilizing new materials. In addition, the central station and the experiments would have to be carefully oriented to provide selective shad­owing and reflection of the sun’s rays.

Thirteen experiments were ultimately selected to operate with the five ALSEPs deployed on the Moon. (Some were on the ALSEP carried on the Apollo 13 mission, and their remains are at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.) Each ALSEP had a unique combination of experiments, ranging from four to seven, and some experiments were carried several times. The eight listed at the begin­ning of this chapter were considered of highest priority. Four more would be added over the next few years, plus a dust detector to help monitor ALSEP’s health if dust or dirt on thermal surfaces caused a problem.

One of the four new experiments, Seismic Profiling, had an objective similar to the active seismic experiment but would provide additional information on the Moon’s shallow structure. The other three were the Lunar Ejecta and Mete­orites Experiment to measure the direction of travel, speed, and mass of mi­crometeorites arriving at the lunar surface (not the MSC proposal mentioned earlier); the Charged Particle Lunar Environment Experiment for measuring a wide range of charged particles caused by the interaction of the solar wind on the lunar surface; and the Lunar Atmosphere Composition Experiment, a spec­trometer that would measure the composition and density of whatever gas molecules might be found in the tenuous lunar atmosphere. Some of the experimenters did their own contracting and built their experiments, deliver­ing them to Bendix for integration, and some used Bendix as their contractor.

Nine other experiments, not dependent on ALSEP and not including those discussed in chapter 5, were to be deployed by the astronauts either in the

vicinity of the LM or during their traverses. They fell into two categories: those used for studying the Moon and those that used the Moon as a convenient platform from which to make measurements.

As I mentioned earlier, one could think of the Moon as a spacecraft circling the Sun, on which you could place instruments to measure phenomena occur­ring within or outside our solar system. In our post-Apollo studies we had examined using the Moon as a site for astronomical observations, and this preliminary study elicited some interest from the astronomy community dur­ing the Falmouth and Santa Cruz conferences.

On later missions, when larger payloads became available, we had the op­portunity to test this idea. An ultraviolet camera-spectrograph was proposed and carried on Apollo 16, the second J mission. The objective of the experiment was to evaluate the Moon as an astronomy base and to take pictures of targets in the far ultraviolet portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, a frequency that could not be studied from the Earth’s surface because of our intervening atmo­sphere. The experiment was proposed by George Carruthers of the Naval Re­search Laboratory, and the instrument was designed and fabricated at his lab.

A second experiment in the category of using the Moon as an observation post was the Cosmic Ray Experiment, a multipart experiment proposed by three teams, one at the General Electric Research and Development Center, a second at the University of California at Berkeley, and a third led by Caltech. Its objective was to detect high and low energy particles emanating from the Sun and from outside the solar system. It had the potential to record particles that had not been detected on Earth, again because of interactions with our protec­tive magnetic fields and atmosphere. It would go to the Moon mounted on the LM descent stage, where it would be exposed just after translunar injection, then folded and retrieved at the end of the third EVA. A related part of the experiment was a detector carried inside the astronauts’ helmets to determine their exposure to cosmic rays during their transit and stay on the Moon or while in lunar orbit. This was important information because it concerned the astronauts’ health, especially if a solar flare or some other major event that occurred somewhere in the universe at an earlier date would expose them to high energy particles during the mission. It was also important for planning longer-duration, manned missions to Mars.

Five of the nine experiments fell into the category of studying the Moon

through various measurements. These were the Lunar Neutron Probe, the Laser Ranging Retro-Reflector (LRRR), the Lunar Portable Magnetometer, the Lunar Traverse Gravimeter, and the Surface Electrical Properties (SEP) experiments. By the time the last three were proposed, it was known that a small vehicle would be available to the astronauts, so the magnetometer, gravimeter, and SEP were designed to be carried on the lunar roving vehicle (LRV), with measure­ments taken either at the astronauts’ discretion or at planned points. The magnetometer and gravimeter would measure the Moon’s gravity and magnetic fields to determine if these values changed as the astronauts moved away from the LM. The SEP used radio waves to penetrate the lunar surface to look for layering in the Moon’s crust. If there was no moisture in the upper layers, it might be able to penetrate deeper than the Seismic Profiling experiment. If water or ice occurred below the surface, the signals received would reveal their presence. The neutron probe would be lowered into the drill hole after the core was extracted to measure the rate of neutron capture below the lunar surface. This measurement would help us understand the physical processes that pro­duced the lunar soil. After remaining in the drill hole for some time, the probe would be recovered and brought back to Earth for study.

The LRRR was a late addition to the roster of Apollo experiments and deserves further description. A laser beam, originating at an observatory on Earth, would be reflected from the Moon back to the observatory and thus provide an accurate determination of the Earth-Moon distance (within a few inches). It was proposed by Carl Alley from the University of Maryland and was built in time to be carried on Apollo 11. Alley was supported by a host of coinvestigators; one of them, James Faller from Wesleyan University, became the PI for the Apollo 14 and Apollo 15 missions. The experiment was designed and developed by the A. D. Little Company of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and built by Bendix. The experiment carried on the Apollo 11 and Apollo 14 mis­sions consisted of one hundred reflectors, each about an inch and a half in diameter, arranged in a ten by ten square. They were mounted on an adjustable support that could be tilted and aimed at the appropriate angle for each landing site to best reflect the laser beams coming from Earth. The astronauts aimed the device using a sun compass and a bubble level, pointing the array at the center of the Earth. Individual corner-cube reflectors were manufactured under a separate contract by the Perkin Elmer Company. Because of difficulties in locating the LRRR at Tranquility Base and the Fra Mauro landing sites, the array carried on Apollo 15 was increased to three hundred reflectors, and it proved much easier to locate and reflect laser beams from Earth.

A network of three LRRRs was to be placed on the Moon, separated as far as possible in latitude and longitude. By sending laser beams from the Earth to the LRRRs and bouncing them back, it was anticipated that the Earth-Moon dis­tance could be calculated within approximately six centimeters. Such precise measurements would permit the study of many physical properties of the Earth and the Moon, including fluctuations in the Earth’s rotation rate, the wobble about its axis, the shape of the Moon’s orbit, and the Moon’s wobble about its axis. Ultimately, if enough stations on Earth were capable of sending laser beams to the Moon, small movements in the Earth’s crust might be measured. (Crustal movements are no longer measured this way. Instead, accurate laser ranging measurements are made from Earth to orbiting satellites. The LRRR, however, is the only experiment carried to the Moon by the Apollo astronauts that is still used for other types of measurements.)

Headquarters management of ALSEP was initially under the direction of OSSA in the Lunar and Planetary Programs office managed by Oran Nicks, and OSSA provided the funds to get ALSEP started. (The vast majority of ALSEP funding eventually came from OMSF.) William ‘‘O. B.’’ O’Bryant, a retired navy captain, was named program manager, and Dick Green, a retired air force officer returning to NASA after a recall, was named program engineer. Ed Davin, still reporting to Will Foster, was named program scientist. I also main­tained an oversight of ALSEP because of its close relationship to other programs I was managing, such as the lunar drill. Relations between headquarters staffers and MSC soured almost immediately. MSC continued its practice of not notify­ing headquarters when important reviews were to be held at Bendix or MSC. This caused a great deal of heartburn at headquarters. This attitude and way of doing business eventually led to the appointment of John ‘‘Jack’’ Small, who proved easier to work with; but the atmosphere had already deteriorated, and an uneasy relationship continued even when Small was replaced toward the end of the program by Donald Wiseman. Fortunately from our perspective, Bendix proved to be a cooperative contractor and recognized the importance of main­taining good relations with headquarters. This was a wise move, for in the ensuing six years there were a number of times when obstacles and difficult decisions arose that required the intervention of headquarters.

In some small defense of MSC’s reluctance to keep headquarters apprised of ALSEP’s progress, a careful line was always drawn between NASA’s contract offices and its contractors in order to avoid any misunderstanding about who was in charge. MSC had the sole authority to control the ALSEP contractor’s actions, and any changes to the contract scope could occur only with written direction from the MSC program manager. Probably all NASA centers had experienced instances when a contractor had used a conversation with someone from NASA headquarters to attempt to modify the scope of its contract, a surefire way to screw up the contract and make the center in charge see red. O. B., with his navy background, was a no-nonsense manager, and never to my knowledge did he create this kind of problem. But he never backed down from exercising his management prerogatives, which included the right to suggest changes to the program manager if he or his staff saw trouble developing and to keep a tight rein on the funding. O. B., Green, and Davin also felt that they were often the only ones sticking up for the experimenters when trade-offs were required, and they didn’t hesitate to make their concerns known.

Toward the end of summer 1968, with ALSEP development in its final stages, NASA management began to reevaluate the first landing mission’s lunar surface activities. Concern was growing about how well the astronauts would function on the Moon and, more important, how the LM would perform. Several ways to alleviate these concerns were explored. First the number and length of EVAs could be reduced. But if only one EVA was allowed, then ALSEP could not be deployed and still leave time for the astronauts to carry out their other important tasks, including sample collection. Not carrying ALSEP would reduce the astronauts’ workload and the weight of the LM for the first mis – sion—a partial solution to both concerns. Removing weight would also add a few seconds of hover time. ALSEP became a prime target for removal.

When rumors spread that the scientific experiments on the first landing would be drastically reduced, Charles Townes, chairman of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee, went to NASA senior management and ar­gued for keeping as much science as possible on the first mission. Our office, Bill Hess at MSC, and others in the scientific community were also lobbying hard to keep ALSEP on the first landing mission and to maintain two EVAs. Our office was fighting for more than just the science. ALSEP and the geological tasks the astronauts were scheduled to carry out represented years of planning and hard work, not to mention suffering through many a contentious meeting

with those in NASA who did not embrace the need to include science on Apollo. We were not prepared to accept such a defeat.

In September and October, in response to this outcry, our office and MSC studied an alternative to dropping the full ALSEP and presented it to the NASA Senior Management Council. A new, much smaller, and more easily deployed science payload was proposed and approved and given the name Early Apollo Experiments Scientific Package (EASEP). EASEP would comprise just three experiments, the passive seismometer, packaged with the dust detector, and the LRRR. Another self-contained, easily deployed experiment, Solar Wind Com­position, along with the equipment for the field geology experiment, would constitute the rest of the science payload. EASEP would be much lighter than ALSEP and require less time to deploy. By including these experiments on the first mission, NASA hoped to divert the criticism that was sure to come its way and show that its heart was in the right place regarding science. The astronauts would leave the highest priority experiment, the seismometer, at the landing site and still have time to conduct a limited geological study, collecting fewer samples than originally planned.

Instead of being powered by an RTG, the EASEP seismometer would get its power from solar panels and batteries charged by the solar array, the power source rejected for ALSEP but now acceptable because of the short lifetime expected for this substitute. The seismometer would have to operate only through the rest of the lunar day in which it was deployed, although we hoped it might survive longer. It would contain several small isotope heaters to help it survive the lunar night and, with luck, continue to function during a second lunar day. Like ALSEP, it would also have a self-contained telemetry system to transmit to Earth the seismometer and dust detector readings.

EASEP’s design was developed through close cooperation between MSC and Bendix, working under the ground rule that as much as possible of the hard­ware and subsystems would be based on ALSEP. Donald Gerke led the MSC team in the design phase and became the program manager for this hurry-up ALSEP substitute. In November 1968 NASA and Bendix agreed to a $3.7 mil­lion contract for the design and manufacture of the EASEP as well as the LRRR. By this time, with the Apollo flight program rapidly moving ahead, the date of the first landing was becoming obvious—sometime in the summer of 1969. Only three more Apollo test flights were scheduled before the first landing attempt. EASEP would have to be built in five months if it was to meet a May 1 delivery date at Kennedy Space Center for a subsequent June or July flight date. In contrast to some of the difficulties we encountered with MSC’s ALSEP managers, Gerke was easy to work with, especially for us at NASA headquarters. EASEP proceeded without a hitch and was delivered to KSC one day ahead of schedule.5

At the beginning of the chapter I listed the prominent scientists who were identified in Foster’s memo, along with the highest priority ALSEP experi­ments. In the months after the SSSC approved their selection to develop the experiments for Apollo, and before the ALSEP contract was signed, some ma­neuvering took place—at times a little indelicate—to determine who would be named principal investigators. This title conferred an important imprimatur because the PI would be the primary contact in the years ahead as we built the instrument and also would be responsible for interpreting the returned data and publishing the results. As a reward for all this effort, the PI would receive the largest amount of NASA funding allocated to the experiment and in some cases would be in charge of distributing funds to other members of the team. Remember the golden rule: ‘‘He who has the gold rules.’’ This was certainly the case for the PIs. In addition to the gold, they also got the publicity and all the other notoriety that went with this high-profile position. Most prominent sci­entists are not shrinking violets; being identified as Apollo PIs enhanced their reputations, and the exposure certainly helped advance their careers. How many scientists could look forward to saying they had designed an experiment that was placed on the Moon by the astronauts? Everyone knew only a lucky handful would have this claim to fame.

An example of the competition for this honor was the naming of the PI for the passive seismic experiment. Frank Press, while at Caltech, had developed the first lunar seismometer (which never flew) for Ranger. Maurice Ewing and George Sutton, at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Laboratory, had de­veloped a seismometer (which likewise never flew) for Surveyor, and it was this very experience, plus their overall reputations, that led to their inclusion on the passive seismometer team. Ed Davin recalls a meeting at NASA headquarters to select the passive seismometer PI. Press and Ewing were present along with one of Ewing’s graduate students, Gary Latham. Ewing, being the senior scientist present, led the discussion and declared that Latham should be the PI be­cause this role would require that someone devote full time to the job and he thought—taking the liberty to speak for himself and Press—that they would not be able to do this. He volunteered that he, Press, and Sutton should remain as coinvestigators. Press, having studied under Ewing at Columbia University, graciously acquiesced, but after the meeting he remarked to Ed, ‘‘What Papa Doc wants, Papa Doc gets.’’ He was obviously disappointed at not being named PI by ‘‘Papa Doc,’’ a somewhat affectionate name given Ewing by his former students. Soon after, several others would be added to the team, but with Latham at Lamont-Doherty, Ewing’s laboratory reaped the public acclaim. Latham went on to do an outstanding job as PI.

I have not had the opportunity to talk to Press about this incident, but I imagine that in hindsight he might think it was not a bad decision. Soon after that meeting he became chairman of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at MIT, certainly a full-time job. His reputation certainly did not suffer from not being an Apollo PI, for among other important jobs he held in later years, he was named president of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the most prestigious scientific positions in the nation.

There are some other interesting anecdotes concerning the experiments. Perhaps the most star-crossed was the Lunar Surface Gravimeter. Its tale of woe has been partially told before, but it deserves further discussion, perhaps with some new insights. I met the PI, Joseph Weber, early in his struggle to get his experiment accepted by NASA. His laboratory was only twenty minutes from our office in downtown Washington, on the campus of the University of Mary­land. Dick Allenby, Ed Davin, and I visited Weber in his basement laboratory sometime in early 1964. He had been building and modifying gravimeters in his lab for several years, hoping to arrive at a design sensitive enough to detect gravity waves. Gravity waves were predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity, and it was believed they could be generated by the collapse of some distant star or perhaps might emanate from an ancient supernova. It was believed that gravity waves would propagate outward from such events at the speed of light and that if one had a sensitive enough gravimeter they could be detected on Earth. Further, it was believed that analyzing them would provide new insights into the structure and evolution of the universe.

A secondary objective of his proposed experiment was to measure the defor­mation of the Moon by the tidal pull of the Earth. Weber showed us his latest model, and it was indeed a sensitive instrument—so sensitive that it was detect­ing large trucks and trains passing in the distance. Therein lay the snag that led

him to propose his experiment for an Apollo mission. The Earth was subject to so many events that would disturb its gravity field that some thought it would never be possible to make the delicate gravity measurements he wanted. The Moon offered a location without a lot of extraneous gravity sources—certainly no trains and trucks would mask gravity waves. Simultaneous measurements by similar instruments on the Earth and the Moon might identify movements that would be associated only with a passing gravity wave.

Weber’s experiment was eventually approved for Apollo, and he was given a contract to build a new gravimeter with the highest sensitivity possible based on the technology of the day (nominal sensitivity one part in 1011 of lunar gravity). He in turn contracted with Bendix to build his instrument with a subcontract to LaCoste and Romberg, world-famous builders of gravimeters, to design and supply the sensor. Because of the late approval to include the experiment on Apollo 17 and the complexity of the design, MSC questioned in August 1970 whether the experiment could achieve delivery in July 1972. We suggested shortcutting some of the normal procedures and, if necessary, integrating the flight hardware with ALSEP at KSC instead of Bendix.6 Development pro­ceeded on this new schedule with just the usual problems one encountered in such a program, and the flight instrument was delivered on time for integration with the Apollo 17 ALSEP, the last opportunity to get it to the Moon on an Apollo flight. Because its objective was so unusual, it was billed as the star experiment of the Apollo 17 mission. Weber and his coinvestigators, John J. Giganti, J. V. Larson, and Jean Paul Richard, all from the University of Mary­land, eagerly anticipated being the first to unequivocally detect the elusive gravity waves. Gordon MacDonald, originally on the team with Weber, had dropped out, for reasons I don’t recall.

Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Jack Schmitt, aware of its scientific signifi­cance, practiced diligently with the training model to be sure they would not foul up its deployment. In his pamphlet On the Moon with Apollo 17, printed just before the mission, Gene Simmons, MSC’s chief scientist, went so far as to predict that ‘‘the practical utilization of gravitational waves may lead to benefits that far exceed those gained from the practical utilization of electromagnetic waves’’ (italics in the original). That would be a hard prediction to live up to, but his pronouncement reflected the enthusiasm and anticipation that accom­panied the gravimeter to the Moon. An article in Science in August 1972 reported that a race was on at a number of laboratories around the world to be the first to confirm the measurement of gravity waves, labeled an ‘‘exotic problem.’’7

On the Apollo 17 mission ALSEP and the gravimeter were deployed on the first EVA by Jack Schmitt, approximately six hundred feet west-northwest of the LM. When commands were sent to the gravimeter to turn on the experiment, readings were received almost immediately back in the Science Support Room. The readings didn’t look right to those monitoring ALSEP, but this was the first time the instrument had operated in the reduced gravity of the Moon, so no one was quite sure how the signal should look. Jack completed the ALSEP deployment and activation and went about his other tasks. Meanwhile the Bendix engineers and Weber tried to figure out how to get the instrument to operate more to their liking. They tried to rebalance the beam (the part of the sensor that responded to the pull of gravity) by sending commands to add or subtract mass on the beam, but the signal coming back didn’t change signifi­cantly with these commands.

A ‘‘tiger team’’ was appointed to come up with a solution while the astro­nauts were still on the Moon and might be able to help resolve the difficulty, although at the time it still wasn’t clear what the problem was or how serious it might be. Perhaps just a little rap by one of the astronauts might clear up what appeared to be a minor discrepancy in the instrument’s readings. Schmitt went back to the gravimeter several times during later EVAs to jiggle it a little, but the instrument still did not respond as expected. The beam seemed to be resting on the upper stop and not swinging free. Jack’s comments reflected his concern that perhaps he had made some mistake during the deployment, but he had done nothing wrong.

When the Apollo 17 astronauts left the Moon, Weber and the Bendix engi­neers were still unhappy with the gravimeter’s readings but could not find the cause. Perhaps operating the instrument through one or more lunar day/night cycles might help clear up the signal; so it was monitored for the next several months, but there was no change in the response. The Preliminary Science Report for Apollo 17 came out almost a year later still promising that the gravimeter would return useful information. But it wasn’t to be.

Back at Bendix, in Ann Arbor, a second team delved into the mystery. The instrument had been checked out at Bendix before shipment and had worked satisfactorily. What had gone wrong? Then it occurred to LaCoste what had happened. To test the gravimeter on Earth a set of weights were dropped on the balance beam, correctly calculated for Earth’s gravity. After the test these weights were recalculated to compensate for the Moon’s gravity, which is much less than the Earth’s (1/81), and installed by LaCoste. Because of a faulty calculation, those installed were not the proper weights for the Moon.8 Thus this experiment, on which so much hope for a major discovery had been riding, never returned much useful data. Joe Weber and his team of coinvestigators never forgave LaCoste for the mistake. Perhaps accelerating the schedule con­tributed to this miscalculation, but at the time it seemed a reasonable risk to get the instrument on the final mission.

At this time, to my knowledge, no one has directly detected gravity waves, and new efforts are under way to build a gravity wave experiment called LIGO.9 LIGO’s announced objective is to detect gravity waves originating from black holes or supernova events. Sound familiar? Designed by scientists at several universities and funded by the National Science Foundation, two identical instruments have been built. One has been installed at the Department of Energy’s Hanford, Washington, laboratory and another at Livingston, Loui­siana. The two instruments will permit simultaneous measurements at distant points, thus removing the possibility that, rather than signaling the passage of a gravity wave, the mirrors used to bounce a laser beam back and forth in a tunnel two and a half miles long would be misaligned by some local disturbance (such as the trucks and trains observed in Weber’s earlier experiments). A difficult quest, but perhaps this time it will succeed.

Another experiment that caused a problem was the lunar surface magne­tometer (not to be confused with the Lunar Portable Magnetometer). In this case Chuck Sonett, the PI, chose to have the instrument built by Philco-Ford and then integrated by Bendix. (The PI on the Apollo 15 and Apollo 16 missions was Palmer Dyal, also from the NASA Ames Research Center.) The sensor electronics for the instrument contained thirteen hundred active components, eighteen hundred passive components, and thirty-three hundred memory core locations. It included thousands of tiny diodes supplied by Fairchild. Scheduled to fly on the first ALSEP, with the first landing fast approaching, all the ALSEP experiments were under pressure to meet the schedules for delivery, test, and integration at Bendix. Prototype instruments were always tested before build­ing the actual flight hardware to ensure that the design would perform as advertised, and the tests were closely monitored by MSC and headquarters.

When the prototype magnetometer was tested it failed miserably. Short circuits were noted at many places in the circuitry. Trouble. Was there a major flaw in the experiment design? And if so, would there be time to redesign to meet the schedule and have a new instrument ready for this high priority experiment?

The prototype was torn down and subjected to a careful analysis that re­vealed the problem. To meet the tight schedule, the circuits had not been properly cured, or ‘‘burned in,’’ and in addition many of the diodes were contaminated by fine particulate matter embedded in the potting compound. Fixing the curing time was easily solved, but how did the contamination occur?

A team from headquarters and MSC went to Fairchild to review its man­ufacturing techniques, and the contamination mystery was solved. After the diodes were manufactured, they were placed on shelves—not in a clean room— to cure. Dust and other airborne contaminants circulated in the air and stuck to the potting compound, and these minute particles were enough to permit arcing across the circuits. But could Fairchild come up with a new batch of clean diodes in time to meet the schedule? With the first ALSEP deployment postponed until Apollo 12, Fairchild pulled out all the stops and made the delivery, saving the magnetometer’s assignment. The instrument operated suc­cessfully for many months, with only a few minor discrepancies that were corrected as it continued sending information back to Earth.

Five years after the last Apollo mission, at the end of September 1977, Noel Hinners, who had left Bellcomm and later had been appointed NASA associate administrator, Office of Space Science, decided to save the $1 million per year spent monitoring the five ALSEPs and sending the data to the PIs. Few data were being recorded by this time. It was not expected that the passive seismic experiment, probably the most interesting experiment still operating, would provide much new information because there were no more man-made im­pacts on the horizon, and naturally occurring major meteor impacts and large moonquakes were uncommon.

During the years they were operating, before being put in a standby condi­tion, all the ALSEPs were still functioning long past their design goals, though occasional glitches and data dropouts were observed. Before NASA terminated support for the ALSEPs, several engineering tests were conducted on the central stations and some of the experiments. These tests were devised to answer questions raised during their operational lives but that had not been allowed to be asked for fear of damaging the ALSEPs and the experiments. The test results were then filed away for possible use if another ALSEP-like station was sent to the Moon. After these tests, commands were sent to the ALSEPs, with each of the PIs sorrowfully taking part in the ceremony, to place their experiments and central stations in a standby mode in case someone wanted to turn them back on later. In the meantime, no data would be collected or transmitted.

In October 1994 the Department of Energy (the successor to the AEC, which had provided the RTGs) wanted to determine if the RTGs had survived over the intervening eighteen years. Ground controllers at the Johnson Space Center tried to reactivate the stations. They hoped the ALSEPs would still be receiving power, as predicted by the plutonium half-life, waiting to spring back to action when Earth called. They made two attempts to turn on each of the ALSEPs, but none of them responded. Although the RTGs were probably still generating electric power, it seems likely that as the RTGs aged and power levels dropped, the ALSEPs turned themselves off, as designed, when a minimum operating power level was reached.10 The next time they are revisited will probably be when some intrepid lunar explorer or entrepreneur lands near an Apollo land­ing site and drives over to recover pieces, as we did for Surveyor 3 during the Apollo 12 mission, bringing them back to be put in a museum or someone’s private collection of space memorabilia.

Walk, Fly, or Drive?

Safety was always the primary concern when someone recommended the astro­nauts carry out an action. As new ideas were suggested, the astronauts were included as early as possible so they could offer their point of view. When the debates began on how to provide mobility on the lunar surface, they made their thoughts known decisively. The best lunar surface transportation mode would have to take into account not only their preferences but also the payload weight available on the lunar module, the tasks to be performed, and the equipment the vehicle would have to carry. Those looking through the narrow lens of the Field Geology Team wanted the astronauts to cover as much ground as possible at each landing site and carry a variety of tools for mapping and sample collec­tion. The geophysicists and other science disciplines, as we saw at the Falmouth and Santa Cruz conferences, had their own particular requirements for deploy­ing experiments and collecting data. For the Astronaut Safety Office, the pri­mary concern would be to keep the astronauts always within easy reach of the LM in case any of a wide variety of emergencies occurred.

An astronaut walking on the Moon would be, in effect, a small, self- contained spacecraft. His space suit and all the attached systems would have to let him function in the brutal lunar environment (high vacuum, low gravity, and extreme temperatures). It could be as cold as —260°F in shadow, while in full sunlight a short distance away it might be 270°F. He also had to see objects and the ground around him both in shadow and in the glare of the full sun. While moving about he would need a way to maintain voice communication with Earth and, ideally, automatically relay information on his physical condi­tion and the status of his life-support systems so those monitoring them could tell him if he had to return to the LM. Designing a space suit that would accommodate all these multiple functions was an enormous challenge for the Manned Spacecraft Center engineers and their contractors. My office and the scientific community followed their progress with great interest, for the more successfully these challenges were resolved the more scientifically productive the missions would be.1 The astronauts had to be mobile, and they had to maintain good eye-hand coordination; the closer space suit designs came to allowing “shirtsleeves” efficiency the better, though we knew that could not be achieved.2

The space suit solution for the Apollo missions was based on technology developed in the United States and Great Britain, first for pilots flying high – altitude fixed-wing aircraft and, more recently, for the Mercury and Gemini programs. The MSC Engineering and Development Directorate and the Crew Systems Division directed the efforts of many contractors, some retained from Gemini, to produce the Apollo extravehicular mobility unit (EMU), the com­bination of suit and attached support systems. Hamilton Standard and Inter­national Latex Corporation were chosen as the prime contractors for the EMU design and manufacture.

The major elements of the EMU were a liquid-cooled inner garment to re­move body heat; an eighteen-layer outer suit, topped by an integrated thermal – meteoroid cover lest a tiny meteorite punch a hole in the suit; a helmet with a clear inner visor and a sunshade (added after Apollo 14) and a movable, trans­parent gold-plated sun reflector visor; gloves; and boots. The portable life – support system (PLSS), attached to the back of the space suit, included bat­teries, fans, pumps, and the expendables (oxygen, water, and lithium hydroxide canisters to remove carbon dioxide) plus a separate oxygen purge system con­taining thirty to seventy-five minutes of oxygen in case of a failure in the PLSS.3 All together, the EMU weighed about 200 pounds (60 for the suit and 140 for the PLSS), varying with the mission and the additions or improvements it embodied. The EMU went through several upgrades from Apollo 11 to Apollo 17, each designed to improve the astronauts’ ability to perform their tasks on the lunar surface.

Perhaps most difficult to design were the gloves. I attended several design reviews over the years as improved glove designs, incorporating new materials, were demonstrated. At each review the technology improved, although some ideas were discarded as development proceeded. The gloves had to be tough enough to confine the suit’s internal gas pressure (3.7 psi) in the lunar vacuum and to withstand abrasion from handling rocks and equipment. At the same time, the gloves had to allow the astronauts some sense of touch. These two requirements worked against each other from a materials point of view: high wear strength and toughness resulted in poor feel through the gloves. Imagine trying to thread a needle wearing work gloves with the fingers blown up like balloons. Not an exact analogy, but pretty close.

The final design had an outer shell of tough fabric covered with thermal insulation and fingertips made of silicone rubber so the astronauts could feel what they were touching. Not a perfect solution, but the best the technology of the day would permit. In spite of the attention given to this part of the suit, the astronauts would often end their simulations, or return to the LM after a long stint of extravehicular activity on the Moon, with bloody fingertips, cracked fingernails, and their hands aching from trying to grasp and hold a wide variety of objects. However imperfect, the glove design did the job. No glove failures occurred during the missions, and all scheduled tasks were completed.

The EMU restricted how the astronauts could perform various tasks, how far they could wander from the LM, and how long they could stay outside the LM on any EVA. The suit and backpack mass would have to be large, the equivalent of moving a heavy weight with every step. In addition, the astronauts would be continuously working against the internal suit pressure to bend the suit at its joints. Walking on the Moon would thus be difficult and tiring despite the low lunar gravity. If an astronaut fell it was feared he might not be able to get up, and the difficulty was accentuated because the PLSS, attached at shoulder height, raised his center of gravity. (This proved not to be a problem; in the Moon’s low gravity, the astronauts could easily bounce up from a fall.) But EVA planning required that they always be close enough together to help each other if one should have a problem. The PLSS provided for sharing oxygen and cooling water if one PLSS malfunctioned.

While suit development was under way, these restrictions raised the specter that the astronauts might not accomplish the demanding work being planned during the lunar EVAs. Metabolic tests had been made on many suited test subjects as well as on several astronauts simulating the tasks to be done on the Moon.4 Data from these tests showed that the EMU then available would limit EVAs to four hours of low level work. The PLSS could supply consumables (the oxygen, water, and lithium hydroxide mentioned above) for four hours if the astronauts averaged a metabolic rate of 1,200 BTU/hr, the equivalent of playing golf in shirtsleeves. If they exceeded this rate they would have to reduce their activity to reach the average use of consumables if the EVA was to last the full four hours. In reality this would mean almost standing still, since just moving slowly in the suit required over 1,000 BTU/hr; 600 BTU/hr was needed just to work against the suit’s internal pressure and overcome joint friction. In spite of improvements in the Apollo EMU during the next few years, the results of these analyses led, in part, to a decision to reduce the amount of EVA time on the first landing mission. EMU consumables were carefully monitored on all missions, especially when the astronauts undertook tasks not programmed in the mission timelines.

These considerations also led to continual upgrades of the Apollo suit and research on better space suits. In May 1968 Sam Phillips asked MSC to recom­mend a program for space suit development with an eye to improving the astronauts’ mobility on the lunar surface for the post-Apollo missions. (He wanted the improved suit to be ready by 1971.) An EVA working group, report­ing to Charles W. Mathews, Mueller’s deputy associate administrator, began meeting to look into all aspects of EVA, both in free space and on the lunar surface.5 Ames Research Center became involved, since it also had a team working on space suits; its favorite was the constant volume suit, a hard suit like a deep-sea diver’s suit. James Correale led the work at MSC’s Crew Systems Division and coordinated the MSC research with that going on at Ames. Many of the concepts combined properties of the soft and hard suits, including articulated bearings, bellows joints, and metal fabrics. Although it promised to reduce the astronauts’ workload, the hard suit never was adopted because of operational considerations, including the extra stowage space required. How­ever, the hard suit, or a hybrid suit, is still under consideration for Space Station EVAs because it reduces metabolic demands. Perhaps when materials science improves and spacecraft design permits its use, it will be adopted as the stan­dard EVA suit.

For Apollo 15, Apollo 16, and Apollo 17 several suit improvements were made, including making it easier to bend at the waist and adding expendables (water, oxygen, lithium hydroxide, and a larger battery) to the PLSS to allow longer EVA time-all important improvements for these missions. Since EVAs for these missions might last as long as eight hours, the pressure suits also provided a few creature comforts, with an emphasis on ‘‘few.’’ Most important for such long EVAs, bags containing one quart of drinking water were attached to the helmet neck ring inside the suit. The astronaut could reach a straw by turning his head inside the helmet. A small snack bar also could be attached to the neck ring and eaten by turning the head.

At the other end of the human system, a urine bag was attached inside the pressure suit leg to collect urine, much like the earlier “motorman’s friend’’ for trolley car operators. Back in the LM the urine bags would be removed from the suits, and later they would be left on the Moon. Now you know the answer to one of the questions people most often asked the astronauts. The other adjust­ment made for the final three missions was that some of the tools could be attached to the pressure suit or PLSS so the astronauts did not have to return to the lunar roving vehicle (LRV) to retrieve them from the tool carrier during their sample collecting and geological studies.

EMUs used on the lunar surface EVAs differed from those worn by the command module pilots; beginning with Apollo 15, they had to make an EVA to retrieve film and tapes from the experiments bay of the service module during the return trip from the Moon. The CM pilot’s EMU did not include the PLSS; it was attached to the CM by an umbilical cord that supplied life-support consumables and voice communication links. The EMU did include a small emergency backpack containing the oxygen purge system, similar to that at­tached to the lunar surface EMU.

With the Apollo suit being developed, studies described in chapter 3 were already under way at Marshall Space Flight Center on two alternative types of vehicles: flying machines and motorized wheeled vehicles. The wheeled vehicles were championed by most members of the science community, led by the Field Geology Team at Flagstaff, and were supported by my office at NASA headquar­ters, while the flying machines were favored by some of the staff at MSC and a few astronauts. Our simulations at Flagstaff had used many types of wheeled vehicles, and procedures and operations that took advantage of a vehicle were far advanced. Based on this work, the choice seemed obvious; the astronauts should be equipped with some sort of wheeled vehicle.

Lunar flying vehicle (LFV) proponents at MSC were basing their support on the work that Textron-Bell Aerospace Company had completed at MSFC, also described in chapter 3. The LFV engendered visions of astronauts zooming above the lunar surface like Buck Rogers, free to go wherever they wanted, and quickly. Clearly the LFV would be able to reach places a wheeled vehicle could not go. But would the astronauts be permitted to use such a device, considering safety concerns and the possible need to walk back to the LM from dangerous locations if the LFV failed? Discussions during the Falmouth conference were not supportive of it as an exploration tool. Mission simulations using a flying vehicle were never carried out in the field owing to the difficulty and expense of providing a good simulation. Only Textron-Bell pilots were qualified to use the LFVs, so based on a few demonstrations by the manufacturer, one had to imagine how such a vehicle could be used on the Moon.

This debate came to a head at the Santa Cruz summer conference in August 1967, with heated discussions between the two factions. As is often the case in government matters, when opposing positions are strongly held there are no clear winners, and this was true at Santa Cruz. The final report endorsed both wheeled vehicles and flight concepts. Since we were focusing on post-Apollo missions (in 1967, planning for the first Apollo landing missions envisioned only the astronauts’ walking), we were not constrained from advocating robust vehicles, going so far as to recommend using both types to jointly support the surface exploration. In spite of this accommodation at Santa Cruz, momentum was building in favor of a wheeled vehicle for the later Apollo flights. The recommendations coming out of the several working groups called for contin­uous traverses, manned and unmanned, to sample and deploy various types of equipment and experiments, operations that did not lend themselves to a flying machine.

In April 1969 Frank Press, who had chaired both the Falmouth and Santa Cruz geophysics working groups and was now a member of the Lunar and Plan­etary Mission Board (LPMB), submitted a paper representing the board’s lean­ings and recommending a ‘‘lunar exploration program.’’6 Only three months short of the first lunar landing and still anticipating ten lunar landings, Press’s paper emphasized the need for enhancing mobility: first, with a better space suit to improve the astronauts’ walking and overall EVA capabilities, and second, with some type of wheeled vehicle operating in both manned and unmanned modes to ‘‘interpolate between type locations.’’ In Press’s words, with increased mobility, the strategy outlined in the paper ‘‘provides optimal scientific return and fully exploits the Apollo capability.” The LPMB unanimously approved this recommendation at its next meeting in May and passed it on to Homer Newell.

With concerns about the astronauts’ ability to move about on the Moon plaguing Office of Manned Space Flight management, George Mueller stepped in and made a decision. The argument of ‘‘fliers’’ versus wheeled vehicles was finally put to rest, and the wheeled vehicle won. Safety was probably the critical factor in the decision. If a lunar ‘‘jeep’’ broke down, the worst result would be a long walk back to the LM. If a flying vehicle had a problem it might crash in an inaccessible area. Other considerations were also important, such as stowage and the overall weight of a fully fueled flier (more than three times as heavy as a projected lunar ‘‘jeep’’) that could carry two astronauts many miles. As envi­sioned by the Santa Cruz attendees, the LFV would complement a surface vehicle; but as a stand-alone or only means of transportation, the LFV was too limited to support the planned science, especially for the final missions, when multiple EVAs were planned that would include many geophysical measure­ments at many points along the traverses. Because the LMs had limited payload capacity, a choice had to be made, and the LRV won.

Mueller convened his Senior Management Council in May 1969. At the meeting, attended by George Low, at that time MSC’s Apollo spacecraft pro­gram manager, and Wernher von Braun as well as other senior OMSF man­agers, Mueller asked Low and von Braun to examine the problem and arrive at a solution. A small LRV was the final choice, and Mueller told Sam Phillips to go ahead with it. At the end of May Phillips sent a memo to MSFC, the center with the most experience in lunar vehicle research, asking it to manage the procure­ment. Von Braun wanted an experienced senior manager to lead the effort, and he tapped Saverio ‘‘Sonny’’ Morea to be the program manager. Morea had not been in on any of the earlier MSFC lunar roving vehicle studies, but he had been program manager for the Saturn У F-1 engine development, a critical and difficult job that he had successfully completed. He had been given a ‘‘heads – up’’ for his new assignment and had attended the Senior Management Council meeting.7

With Morea’s appointment, the procurement was put on a fast track. Ben Milwitzky, who had just finished his role as headquarters’ manager of the Surveyor program, was transferred to our office to oversee this new program. Ben was a good choice because at the beginning of the Surveyor program a small wheeled vehicle was a candidate payload (though never flown), and Ben had several companies under contract working on their concepts. He had some hands-on experience to guide him in developing the larger vehicle for the Apollo missions.

In July MSFC released the request for proposal (RFP), and three companies responded—Bendix, Grumman, and a Boeing-General Motors team. We all thought Bendix had the inside track to win the contract because of its involve­ment in all the post-Apollo vehicle studies, plus it was the only one of the three bidders that had a working model of its concept at the time the RFP was released. Boeing also had a good background because of its work in post-Apollo studies, having teamed with General Motors (Delco Electronics Division) for the mobile laboratory competition. Grumman believed it would have an ad­vantage because it had done some earlier work on a one-man vehicle. The design of this new vehicle would be intimately tied to the LM and its stowage constraints, and of course no one knew the LM better than Grumman.

After the Source Selection Board (SSB) reviewed the proposals, it deter­mined that Bendix and Boeing had the superior proposals and passed its find­ings to NASA headquarters. Because of the short schedule-seventeen months from projected contract start to delivery of the flight vehicle-headquarters told MSFC to negotiate contracts with both companies, not knowing which one would be chosen by the source selection official, Thomas O. Paine, the new NASA administrator. With negotiated contracts in hand, we would be able to jump-start the contract and save valuable time. Of the two bids, Boeing had submitted the lower price, $19.7 million, and since all the other SSB findings were essentially equal, Paine awarded the contract to the Boeing team.

MSFC then signed a performance-based contract (a wise decision, as it turned out) that went into effect in November 1969. Included on the Boeing- GM team were Eagle-Pitcher Industries, which supplied the LRV batteries, and United Shoe Machinery Corporation, which provided the electric harmonic drive units that powered each individual wheel. It would be a true four-wheel – drive vehicle. The contract called for the delivery of four vehicles (later reduced to three) and six test units, one of which was eventually converted into a one-g trainer for astronaut simulations on Earth.

Soon after the contract went into effect, MSFC and headquarters had some misgivings about the specifications contained in the contract. Morea’s team thought they were too complex and opened the door for possible change orders that would boost the price and perhaps jeopardize the schedule. For example, the original RFP called for a gyroscopically controlled navigation system. After careful review, the high accuracy this type of system would deliver was thought to be unnecessary, and it would add to the overall cost. On January 15, 1970, Ben chaired a meeting of engineers from MSFC, MSC, and Kennedy Space Center to rectify this situation and develop a less restrictive set of specifications.

The design requirements coming out of that meeting, and then translated into the final specifications for the Boeing team, called for an LRV that would carry one or two astronauts plus experiments, communications, a TV camera, and crew equipment and would provide stowage for lunar samples collected during the traverses—a total payload capacity of 970 pounds.8 In place of the gyroscopic navigation system, it would have a rudimentary system that would give the astronauts a continuous vector back to the LM in case it was out of sight and they needed to make a rapid return. Other specifications called for the LRV to travel a maximum of ten miles an hour on level mare surfaces with an overall range of seventy-two miles.

The most demanding requirements were that the vehicle be transported to the Moon in the wedge-shaped LM descent stage Quadrant I and that the total weight of the vehicle, including its stowage and deployment mechanisms, could not exceed four hundred pounds. This meant the LRV would have to be folded or collapsed and that the chassis and wheels would be flimsy indeed.

After all the vehicle studies we had performed for the post-Apollo missions, I was skeptical that the overall specifications could be met within the weight and stowage constraints. This would be smaller and lighter than anything we had studied for post-Apollo, yet it was being designed to accomplish many of the jobs we had envisioned for our larger vehicles. I shared my concerns with Ben, but he was convinced the specifications were valid. Events proved that such a vehicle could be built with these tight constraints. I credit his management skills, along with the dedication and engineering know-how of Sonny Morea’s team plus the hard work and cooperation of Boeing, GM, and their suppliers, for the on-time delivery of the LRVs—the payload stars of the last three Apollo missions.

The LRV team encountered many complications as it struggled to meet the tight schedule. Early in the contract, MSFC concluded that the Boeing program manager did not have the skills to manage such a critical program and asked that he be replaced. Boeing agreed and brought in a new manager, Edward House, who took control and saw the project through to its successful conclu­sion. The next problem was the escalating cost. Congress got wind of this and asked the Government Accounting Office to review the contract. Here the performance-based contract proved valuable, because MSFC could demon­strate that the contractor’s rising costs were justified, based on the LRV’s design complexity, and that the contractor fee (profits) would be adjusted accordingly to arrive at the best price for the government. At a hearing at which Milwitzky and Rocco Petrone, who had recently replaced Sam Phillips as Apollo program director, testified, they explained the way the contract worked. They were able to satisfy the House Oversight Committee that the costs were realistic for such an unusual vehicle. The matter was dropped, and the final cost, with modifica­tions to the original contract for the LRV flight and test units, was just under $37 million—a bargain in the opinion of all who were involved in the missions.

While the LRV was in development, two new data points were thrust into the discussions on astronaut mobility. The first was the comments of the Apollo 11 astronauts after their return. Although their EVAs had been reduced in number and length so that their total time on the surface was just a little over two hours and thirty minutes, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin came back with the im­pression that walking on the Moon would be easy. They had discovered that a loping, rolling gait was the most efficient way to move and helped overcome some of the space suits’ deficiencies—in particular the difficulty of bending at the joints. Armstrong said he thought an LRV would not be needed to get around and to conduct the tasks the scientists had planned. When Morea asked at one of the debriefings what size wheels he would recommend to ensure that the LRV could handle surface irregularities, Armstrong replied, ‘‘about twenty feet.’’9 His opinions carried some weight, but in the end they did not slow the development of the LRV, and a much smaller wheel (sixty-four inches), did the job.

The second, more positive data point was the experience of the Apollo 14 astronauts. For Apollo 14 we had built a small two-wheeled cart called the modularized equipment transporter (MET) that the astronauts would pull along loaded with whatever equipment they needed during their traverses and that would also store the collected samples. By this time the array of geological tools and sampling devices we wanted the astronauts to carry had grown con­siderably, including three cameras. As Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell strug­gled to reach the rim of Cone Crater, the primary sampling objective of the mission, the MET became a bigger and bigger hindrance. In the end, as they tried to climb the slope to the crater rim pulling the MET behind them, they decided it was easier to carry it. Walking and pulling even a small cart created such a high workload that the astronauts often had to stop and rest before continuing their exploration. Because of the extra effort expended attempting to reach the rim, and with time running out, they were forced to return to the

LM, and they never quite reached their objective, though they came close. There seemed to be no question that with the much more ambitious missions next on the schedule, we were right to insist on having a motorized vehicle to carry the astronauts and their equipment.

By the time the first LRV was delivered to KSC on March 15, 1971, two weeks ahead of schedule, some of the original specifications had changed. Overall weight had been allowed to grow to 460 pounds, and its allowable payload had also grown, to 1,080 pounds. Its total range had decreased from seventy-two miles to forty. The reduction in range was acceptable as new mission rules developed for the LRV traverses dictated that the astronauts stay within six miles of the LM so they could walk back if the LRV failed.

Television pictures and voice communication would be possible from the LRV at the limits of the traverses, out of sight of the LM. A self-contained lunar communications relay unit would be carried on the LRV or could be hand carried. The LCRU would provide a direct link to Houston by two antennas mounted on the front of the LRV. The low gain antenna would permit voice relay with only coarse pointing toward Earth, but the high gain antenna, re­quired for TV transmission, had to be pointed rather accurately by the astro­nauts. This meant that voice communication would probably be available throughout an EVA, but TV pictures normally could be transmitted only when the LRV was stopped or when driving if the antenna happened to be pointing toward Earth. The LCRU would also permit a operator at Mission Control to point and focus the TV camera when the astronauts were working away from the LRV. The first LRV would be available starting with Apollo 15, and we were waiting with great anticipation for the TV pictures from the new LCRU. It promised the flexibility to monitor and communicate with the astronauts that we had tested in our post-Apollo simulations at Flagstaff.

Edward Fendell, who got the nickname ‘‘Captain Video,’’ trained for many hours to operate the TV camera from his station in the Mission Operations Control Room during our Apollo simulations and had become adept at manip­ulating it to get the best coverage. This skill was invaluable to the ‘‘back­room’’ Field Geology Team, and Ed cooperated to the fullest with their re­quests for views of the local topography at each stop. The media, especially the TV networks, were also excited about closely observing the astronauts at work and broadcasting live the promised spectacular scenery of the last three landing sites.

As a bonus, the LCRU would let us witness an LM takeoff from the Moon. At the end of the last EVA, the astronauts would drive the LRV about three hun­dred feet from the LM and park it with the LCRU on board and the TV camera pointed toward the LM. If Fendell could coordinate elevating the camera with the liftoff, we would be able to watch the LM disappear into the black lunar sky. Despite the difficulty of slewing the camera fast enough to follow the rapidly accelerating LM, Fendell accomplished this feat. At the end of the Apollo 15 mission, the world saw for the first time a slightly blurry view of a spacecraft taking off from another body in our solar system. We were also able to see the effects the LM’s ascent engine exhaust plume had on the lunar surface and the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package. It was a little frightening for the ALSEP engineers to see debris flying in all directions, but the ALSEP survived. If the LCRU still had enough battery power after the Apollo 15 astronauts left, we hoped to take pictures of the lunar eclipse that would occur a week later (assuming the launch stayed on schedule, which it did), as well as other views of the lunar surface and astronomical targets. These observations were success­fully carried out.

A few final words will describe the LRVs, the remarkable machines that made Apollo 15, Apollo 16, and Apollo 17 so successful. The wheels were con­structed of an open wire mesh, to reduce weight, make it easy to stow in the small LM bay (the wire mesh was compressible), and damp the ride by flexing and acting as shock absorbers as the LRV bounced across the lunar surface in the low gravity. The open mesh had some drawbacks, however; as was correctly predicted, the wheels picked up soil and sprayed it over the LRV and the astronauts, so each wheel was covered by a small fender to direct the spray downward. (On Apollo 17 one of the fenders came loose during the first EVA traverse, and the soil spray coated the LRV and the astronauts’ space suits and equipment with a thick layer of dust. The next day Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt made a new fender by taping together stiff sheets from their landing site maps and attached them over the wheel. Even so, when riding on the LRV or just walking around, the astronauts would return covered with lunar soil that they had to brush off before reentering the LM.

The LRV’s front and back wheels could be steered together, in tandem, or each pair independently, allowing it to make tight turns. It was steered with a small T-shaped hand-grip controller, which also regulated speed and braking. A knob below the T-handle controlled forward and reverse, much as in a golf cart.

Mounted above and just forward of the T-handle was the control and display panel, which contained a speedometer, LRV system switches (e. g., for power and steering), temperature gauges, and the onboard navigation system. This last system provided a continuous bearing and range back to the LM and also showed the total distance traveled to help the astronauts find their predeter­mined science stops.

All in all, the LRV was a dandy little machine that performed flawlessly. Full – scale models can be seen at several NASA centers as well as at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, which also displays a lunar module mock-up and other examples of equipment the astronauts used. If—or when—we go back to the Moon, it would surprise me if small vehicles similar in appearance and per­formance to the Apollo LRV are not part of the equipment included in the payloads. Why pay to redesign such a successful system? I hope Boeing or NASA has kept the drawings.